Image courtesy of Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka.

China’s Wuhan Optics Valley BeiDou plans to set up at least 10 Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) in Sri Lanka, as part of its efforts to expand its BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) to South and Southeast Asia.

Like the US Department of Defense’s ubiquitous Global Positioning System (GPS), the BeiDou system will enable such applications as land surveying and mapping, ocean fishery and disaster warning, with China aspiring towards global coverage by the year 2020.

Currently, China already has 32 BeiDou satellites in orbit, controlled by CORS systems within China and in Thailand, where it has established 3 CORS stations as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, a strategic framework to foster connectivity and cooperation.

The news of this initiative was released after a meeting between Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and visiting State Councilor, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, which took place in Colombo on March 20 2017.

During the meeting, President Sirisena “expressed his appreciation for China’s consistent assistance for his country in economy, agriculture, science and technology, education, defense and other areas”, according to the website of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

While in Colombo, Chang also met up with Sri Lankan State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene, where “the two exchanged ideas on promoting relations between their two militaries and pledged to maintain high level contacts, deepen cooperation in all aspects to bring the military ties to a new high,” according to the PRC’s State Council website.

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