Newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, said he was shocked when ‘issues’ were created and misleading media reports appeared when Chinese submarines were called on the Colombo Port two times last year.He also said he is intended to discuss the matter with his Indian counterpart to check if that was an issue for them.
Briefing journalists at the Embassy premises, the new Ambassador said that there are so many submarines and vessels which call on Colombo Port whereas, a huge noise was made and it becomes an issue only when Chinese submarines come. “I was shocked when I read the news on the submarines last year,” he said.When the local media said it was India that objected and expressed concern with the Chinese submarines coming in here, the Ambassador said there must be a ‘reasonable argument’ if so.
“I will talk to my Indian friends and it’s not political or strategic reasons here but a technical issue,” he claimed.When informed that 80% of the Indian transshipment is handled at the Colombo Port, he asked if that was the ‘logic’ behind their objection. He said “If that‘s the logic, then I have no comments”.He also said Colombo port is a commercial harbour and the USA, India and China are using the port among many others. “I don’t understand the logic here,” he added.
“Can any other country use the Sri Lankan Port as their military base or is the Colombo Harbour belongs to India or Sri Lanka?” he queried.