Chinese military ship docks in Sri Lanka over Indian, U.S. objections

A Chinese navy ship at the center of a diplomatic spat docked in a southern port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, marking a small triumph for Beijing over India and the United States.

The Yuan Wang 5 arrived before 8 a.m. on Tuesday and will stay for three days, according to the Hambantota International Port Group. The ship, which reportedly carried 2,000 sailors, was welcomed in a traditional Sri Lankan ceremony attended by Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong and Sri Lankan lawmakers. Footage from the event showed the dignitaries sitting on a red carpet in front of the docked Chinese military vessel while its crew held a massive red banner along a deck that read: “Hello Sri Lanka, Long Live Sri Lanka — China Friendship.”

Indian and U.S. officials had raised concerns about the political optics of a Chinese navy vessel docking at Hambantota International Port, which the Sri Lankan government leased to state-owned China Merchants Port Holdings in 2017 after Sri Lanka failed to repay debts to China. The port’s transfer was condemned by the United States as a prime example of China’s harmful lending practices and its growing influence over the island nation — allegations that China has vehemently denied.

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