After leaving Hambantota Port on August 22, the Chinese satellite and ballistic missile tracking ship Yuan Wang 5 is currently mapping the ocean bed 400 nautical miles (741 kilometers) south-southeast of Dondra Head, the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka.
According to available information, the military ship is expected to head towards its home port Jiangyin near Shanghai as per details provided at Hambantota.
However, it is not clear whether the ship will make another port call while on the way back to China.
Although classified as a Chinese Research Vessel, the ballistic missile tracker ship became a bone of contention with Sri Lankan authorities allowing the ship to berth at Hambantota on August 16 after initially deferring the port call on August 11.
The Hambantota port is on a 99-year lease with the Chinese after Sri Lanka under the Beijing-friendly Rajapaksa regime did a debt-equity swap with the Xi Jinping regime in 2017.
According to China watchers, the berthing of Yuan Wang 5 at Hambantota was a political statement of assertion by the Xi Jinping regime on the weak Ranil Wickremesinghe government after India quietly conveyed its concerns about the military ship.
(Courtesy Hindustan Times);