Sri Lanka said on Monday it had asked China to defer the planned visit of a Chinese ship to the island country after initially approving its arrival this week, yielding to diplomatic pressure from neighbour India to keep the military vessel out.
The Yuan Wang 5 was due to arrive on Thursday at the Chinese-built and leased Hambantota port in Sri Lanka’s south for five days for replenishment. It is currently sailing in the east Indian Ocean, according to Refinitiv Eikon.
Foreign security analysts describe the Yuan Wang 5 as one of China’s latest generation space-tracking ships, used to monitor satellite, rocket and intercontinental ballistic missile launches. The Pentagon says Yuan Wang ships are operated by the Strategic Support Force of the People’s Liberation Army.