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Hunter Biden’s baby mama texted him asking him to see her love child – before she was removed from his payroll

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Lunden Roberts Is Seen With Her And Hunter Biden'S Daughter Navy Joan Roberts

HUNTER Biden’s baby mama sent him a heartbreaking text asking to meet her daughter – a month before he furiously had her removed from his company’s payroll.

Hunter’s former lover and employee Lunden Roberts, 31, wrote the pleading text to President Joe Biden’s son in October 2018, less than two months after the birth of their baby Navy Joan Roberts.


Lunden Roberts is seen with her and Hunter Biden’s daughter Navy Joan RobertsCredit: Facebook
Joe Biden'S Son Hunter Was Seen At The White House For A Presidential Of Freedom Ceremony Last Week


Joe Biden’s son Hunter was seen at the White House for a Presidential of Freedom ceremony last weekPhoto credit: Reuters
Former Stripper Lunden Roberts, Who Texted Hunter Inviting Him To Meet Her Daughter


Former stripper Lunden Roberts, who texted Hunter inviting him to meet her daughterCredit: Facebook

In the message, exclusively obtained by The Sun, ex-stripper Ms Roberts told Hunter, 52, that she understands he “didn’t want anything to do with the decision I made”.

But she added, “In the baby’s life, the door is always open to you.”

Just a month later, Hunter instructed his personal assistant to exempt Ms. Roberts from the payroll and health insurance plan of his now-defunct law firm, Owasco PC.

Ms Roberts’ lawyer claimed in March this year that Hunter had never met or expressed an interest in meeting the now three-year-old Navy.

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Hunter only admitted he was her father after Ms Roberts sued him in an Arkansas district court and ordered him to take a paternity test.

He claimed in his memoir Beautiful Things last year that he fought the paternity suit because he couldn’t remember the encounter that led to his daughter’s birth.

Ms. Roberts’ distressed text message to Hunter was found on a bombshell iPhone backup on Hunter’s infamous “Laptop from Hell”.

It was given to The Sun by Marco Polo, an organization run by a former Trump White House aide, who is examining the laptop.

Lunden Roberts Poses For A Selfie


Lunden Roberts poses for a selfieCredit: Facebook
Hunter Pictured In New York City Last Week


Hunter pictured in New York City last weekPhoto credit: Splash

In the text, sent on October 10, 2018, Ms Roberts wrote: “The last time we spoke you were upset because I had not ‘updated’ you.

“That was in February. I’ve called countless times and also sent a few messages.

“I understand that you despise me and want nothing to do with my decision.

“Even so, I still felt like you deserved to hear from me about it.

“As it’s simply impossible to reach you, texting will have to suffice… hoping you’re even reading this – Baby was born on August 28th. Beautiful and healthy.

“If you’re ever piqued and want to know more I can send pictures, details or whatever you desire.

“I know this is far fetched and you’d rather avoid the whole situation, but I just wanted you to know that the door in baby’s life is always open for you.”

Hunter does not appear to have replied to Ms Roberts’ text.

Hunter Is Seen With His Father On The White House Balcony For The July 4Th Fireworks Display


Hunter is seen with his father on the White House balcony for the July 4th fireworks displayPhoto credit: The Mega Agency
Text Messages Between Hunter And His Assistant Katie Dodge Show Him Asking Her To Remove Lunden From His Law Firm, Owasco Pc'S Payroll


Text messages between Hunter and his assistant Katie Dodge show him asking her to remove Lunden from his law firm, Owasco PC’s payrollCredit: Delivered to The Sun

Hunter and Ms. Roberts met while attending George Washington University in Washington DC

The couple’s paths reportedly first crossed when she was part-time stripper under the alias “Dallas” at the Mpire Gentleman’s Club in the capital’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.

In her text, Ms. Roberts Hunter also provided an update on her life after leaving Washington DC for her home state of Arkansas.

She wrote, “I left my ‘DC lifestyle’ in the past when I decided to come home and get back to who I was before DC and improve for a kid.

“I can only hope that you will respect my privacy regarding details about my life, as I have and will respect yours as well.”

In another previous text sent weeks before her daughter’s birth, Ms Roberts had written: “You’ve been in touch a couple of times, it’s clear you don’t wish to be reached.

“Need to talk to you. If you feel the need to reach me, my line is always open. I hope everything is alright.”

Hunter does not appear to have replied to this message either.

Documents found on Hunter’s laptop show that Owasco PC paid Ms. Roberts $1,500 to work 40 hours a week.

On November 16, 2018, less than three months after Ms Roberts gave birth to his daughter, Hunter discovered that she was still on his payroll.


Text messages between him and his assistant Katie Dodge show he reacted angrily.

After raising the issue, Ms Dodge Hunter asked: ‘Am I removing Lunden from payroll and health insurance? They go hand in hand.”

Hunter responded that she “should take Lunden off the payroll,” adding, “I thought you said she definitely doesn’t want to (sic) work and doesn’t need health insurance anyway. Do you remember the conversation?”

Ms. Dodge replied: “No. I don’t remember that conversation.

“Maybe she told you that, but I wasn’t involved.”

Hunter fired back: “Never mind Katie that was (sic) when she worked a 40 hour week full time for me. I haven’t spoken to Lunden in 7 months???????”

Hunter then told Ms Dodge to “take whatever I’m paying Lunden and get my shit straight”.

In another exchange of messages on December 20, 2018, Ms Dodge appeared to confirm that Ms Roberts had been removed from the payroll.

The revelations come after the Secret Service said Monday it was aware of reports that Hunter’s iCloud had been hacked and leaked to message board site 4Chan.

This alleged leak has nothing to do with Hunter’s misplaced laptop or the iPhone backup found on it.

Hunter spoke in his memoir about the paternity lawsuit that Ms Roberts successfully filed in May 2019, claiming that aside from a romantic relationship with his late brother Beau’s widow, Hallie, “the other women I’ve been with since my divorce during of the killing sprees together, they were hardly the “dating guy”.

He added: “We would meet our immediate needs and little else. I’m not proud of it.

“So I later challenged the Arkansas woman who had a baby in court in 2018, claiming the child was mine — I had no recollection of our encounter.

“I had so little connection with anyone. I was a mess, but a mess I took responsibility for.”


The Sun reported exclusively in October 2020 that Hunter had agreed to pay Ms. Roberts $2.5 million to settle her paternity case, despite previous claims that he had no income and significant debt.

After Ms Roberts testified before a federal grand jury in Delaware that Hunter was being investigated as part of a criminal tax investigation, her attorney, Clint Lancaster, was asked in March this year if Hunter had ever seen his daughter or expressed an interest in meeting her .

Mr Lancaster replied: “No, he didn’t. It’s sad because the baby looks like him, with blonde hair.”

President Joe Biden reacted sharply when raising his illegitimate granddaughter Navy in November 2019.

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked then-presidential candidate Joe, “I was wondering if you have any comment on this report and the Arkansas court filing that your son Hunter just made you a grandfather again.”

Joe replied: “No, this is a private matter and I have no comment.

“Only you would ask that. You are a good man. You are a good man. Nobel.”

The Sun exclusively revealed last week that Hunter smoked drugs in a float tank while on a detox and with two hookers in a hotel shower, calling his stepmother first lady Jill Biden a “validated c***”.

Experts have warned that information found on Hunter’s laptop and iPhone backup posed a serious risk of blackmail for the president’s son.

Campbell Murray, a former global head of cybersecurity for smartphone brand BlackBerry, told The Sun: “If a backup is decrypted and contains compromising, offensive or even illegal material, it means that as the son of an incumbent president, this is a big deal Level of leverage on that person.

“Anyone who received this footage could say to him, ‘I’m going to show the world what you’ve done or what you’ve got on your phone.’

“If this material does get into the hands of a nation-state actor, a foreign intelligence agency, or anyone desiring to exert leverage against a political party or movement, that would be a huge card for them.

When The Sun called the number Ms Roberts Hunter had texted with, the cellphone user declined to comment.

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When asked if she wanted to clarify what she meant when she wrote to Hunter that he wanted nothing to do with “the decision I made,” she said “no” and hung up.

The Sun also reached out to Ms Roberts’ attorney, Clint Lancaster, and Hunter’s representative for comment, but received no response.

Hunter Arrives At Fort Mcnair On July 4 With Joe And Jill Biden


Hunter arrives at Fort McNair on July 4 with Joe and Jill BidenCredit: AP
Hunter Poses With His Father Joe For A Photo At An Event In Washington Dc In April 2016


Hunter poses with his father Joe for a photo at an event in Washington DC in April 2016Photo credit: Getty

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Hunter Biden’s baby mama texted him asking him to see her love child – before she was removed from his payroll



Longtime Bayport mayor not seeking re-election

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Undated Courtesy Photo, Circa Oct. 2018, Of Susan St. Ores, Candidate For Re-Election As Mayor Of Bayport In The Nov. 2018 Election. (Courtesy Of The Candidate)

After 12 years on the job, Bayport Mayor Susan St. Ores is calling it quits.

Undated courtesy photo, circa Oct. 2018, of Susan St. Ores, candidate for re-election as mayor of Bayport in the Nov. 2018 election. (Courtesy of the candidate)

St. Ores said Thursday that she has decided not to run for re-election; filings for the position close at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

St. Ores was elected mayor in November 2010 and ran — and won — five more times after that.

“I absolutely love our hometown community, and it has been a wonderful experience to serve the citizens of Bayport,” St. Ores said in a statement.

During her tenure, she said, Bayport has built strong partnerships with its neighbors and “made important investments in our infrastructure, parks, equipment and staff.”

The mayoral seat and two council seats are up grabs on Nov. 8.

St. Ores said she hopes more residents will get involved in local government “as new and more perspectives result in better representation.”

She also said she hopes that the city’s priorities will continue to be “preserving our strong financial position, strengthening public safety, enhancing the small-town culture, and ensuring transparency and good faith communication in all government decisions, all while holding the line on taxes.”

“Those have been my priorities … and my hope is that future city councils will reflect these same values in their actions,” she said.

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Washington pilot dies in plane crash in Jefferson County

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Washington State Problems Read The Flag On Potential Lightning, Dry Conditions Can Spark Fires

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

A pilot died Wednesday after his plane crashed near Blyn, Jefferson County.

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, a witness reported seeing a low-flying plane with a possible sputtering engine and hearing a crash around 3:10 p.m.

There was significant fog in the area at the time. The sheriff’s office searched the area by car and drone for wreckage and also contacted US Navy Whidbey Island Search and Rescue for assistance, KING5 reported.


A Washington Pilot Died In A Solo Accident On Wednesday.

A Washington pilot died in a solo accident on Wednesday.

Search and Rescue was able to locate the aircraft, a single-engine Cirrus SR22. The pilot was found dead at the scene. It is believed that the pilot was the only passenger.


The accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.


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Jerry Kill’s game day speaking engagement dunked after criticism

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Jerry Kill’s Game Day Speaking Engagement Dunked After Criticism

The idea of Jerry Kill speaking to a Twin Cities group on the morning of the Gophers football team’s season opener has been dunked on.

Shortly after it became known that leaders of Twin Cities Dunkers had invited Kill to be its speaker on Sept. 1 — the day his new team, New Mexico State, plays his old one at Huntington Bank Stadium — the engagement was canceled.

“Some people thought it was maybe inappropriate or causing discomfort, one way or the other. That was never the intent,” said Dave Mona, a member of the Dunkers group that comprises nearly 350 business leaders and regularly invites sports newsmakers for breakfast chats.

Mona, a retired public relations executive, had the idea of inviting the ex-Gophers coach and while former Gophers athletics director Joel Maturi made the call to Kill roughly three weeks ago. His appearance hadn’t yet been made official.

On Monday, KFXN-FM and Gophers sideline reporter Justin Gaard tweeted news of Kill’s invite, putting it in the “only in Minnesota” category. The replies weren’t Minnesota nice.

On Tuesday, Dunkers spiked the plan.

“We decided, let’s pull the plug on it.” Mona said. “(Kill) was fine with it. He wanted to say hello to people that morning and see them again, maybe one last time.”

But, Mona added, “No harm, no foul.”

Before the speech was given the kibosh, former U men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino, now at New Mexico, tweeted: “So you’re saying my dream of being invited back to speak to the Twin Cities Dunkers isn’t dead??”

When first contacted, Kill expressed doubts to the idea of him speaking to Gophers fans. The response was that Kill had “a lot of friends” in Minnesota.

Mona, a former reporter and host on WCCO-AM, said he would have emceed the event and planned to talk about Kill’s return to head coaching at New Mexico State — a challenging place to win as an FBS independent in small Las Cruces — as well as the new challenges in college football, primarily name, image and likeness (NIL) and the NCAA transfer portal.

Mona said he did not plan to ask about Kill’s critical comments of current Gophers coach P.J. Fleck. “I was hoping we could keep it in other things,” he said.

But it was Kill’s comments about Fleck that drove backlash.

Fleck coached under Kill at Northern Illinois in 2008-09. In a radio interview in 2019, Kill said Fleck had “changed a lot” and “I just think sometimes ego gets carried away.” Kill even mentioned Fleck’s first wife in the criticisms.

Kill also said he “took it personal” that Fleck said he had to change the culture of the U program when he was hired in 2017. Kill stepped down due to health reasons midway through the 2015 season and his longtime assistant, Tracy Claeys, was promoted. After the 2016 season, Claeys was fired, in part, due to his response to a group of players being implicated in a sexual assault.

Four of those players were expelled after a university investigation.

After Kill’s comments in 2019, Fleck responded on KTLK-AM: “I’ve got a lot of respect for Jerry Kill; I always will. … I’m not sure where that came from.”

Fleck spoke for a sixth time at Dunkers in June. Other recent speakers include Twins front-office leaders Derek Falvey and Thad Levine in April, and Vikings general manager Kwesi Adolfo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell in May. MLS Commissioner Don Garber met with Dunkers ahead of the MLS All-Star Game in St. Paul on Wednesday.

The Gophers are a whopping 37.5-point betting favorite against New Mexico State. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sept. 1.

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Francisco Lindor is once again one of the best players in the league – The Denver Post

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Francisco Lindor Is Once Again One Of The Best Players In The League - The Denver Post

While many continue to worry about Francisco Lindor’s batting average — which is also trending up — the tireless Mets shortstop has been showing up at the ballpark every day and resuming his place among the baseball’s best all-around players.

Lindor finally gets a break on Thursday, because a day off from the Mets is the only thing that can keep him off the field. Playing with virtually no rest, which manager Buck Showalter is very fond of reminding people of, Lindor posted the fourth most wins over substitution of any position player in the league.

With 32% more offensive production than the average player, mechanical defense at the diamond’s most important position and a good sneaky base run, Lindor ranks behind the Cardinals’ cornering duo of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. for the League’s Most Valuable Player crown. It certainly won’t lead to the Most Valuable Player award, but Lindor deserves a lot more MVP buzz than he’s currently getting.

That’s fine with Lindor, who called breaking Jose Reyes’ single-season club record for RBI by shortstop “a blessing” and “cool” before turning into a reminder that the ultimate goal is to win the World Series. Despite having the third highest WAR since his freshman season in 2015 (behind Mike Trout and Mookie Betts), Lindor has yet to finish above fifth place in MVP voting. He’s never had a bad year, per se, but last year was one he’d definitely take a mulligan for.

Due to his typical excellent defensive work, Lindor’s .230/.322/.412 slash line in 2021 hasn’t totally sunk his overall season, but as the Mets disintegrated in the second half and he has suffered a right oblique injury, the whole mood was not what anyone wanted. Now in his second year of starring in the New York market spotlight, Lindor was asked on Wednesday if simply having more experience with the Big Apple has helped bolster his numbers.

“It’s something to do with it,” he conceded. “But it’s [also] learn from the guys and the coaching staff. Feeding off the energy that the crowd brings also helps.

These things, of course, go hand in hand. The crowd brings much better energy when the Mets win more than two-thirds of their home games, which they have done so far in 2022. It also helps not to actively alienate them with ill-thought-out gestures and weird stories. about a fight in the tunnel actually being an argument about rats and raccoons.

With the Mets where they currently find themselves challenging for king-of-the-hill status not just in the National League, but in all of Major League Baseball, these self-inflicted headaches from last year feel like ‘they happened on a completely different planet. Showalter has been a much-needed adult in the room, the kind of parent who lets the kids have fun as long as they do their chores, but the new additions in lineup and launch staff have also transformed the culture.

It’s hard to imagine a team with Max Scherzer doing the childish hijinks the Mets did last season. Starling Marte and Mark Canha raised the collective floor of the batting order, as did Chris Bassitt for the starting rotation. In recent weeks, there’s also Citi Field’s undisputed champion, the designated hitter who allegedly told Scherzer he hits cluster homers, just like he gets his donuts.

Daniel Vogelbach has been a perfect fit, both mid-line and at the clubhouse. Tyler Naquin is also acclimating quickly, collecting more extra hits (seven) than singles (four) in his first 10 games with the team.

“I’m glad they’re here,” Lindor said of the players GM Billy Eppler picked up at the trade deadline. “The front office has done an incredible job bringing together the right group of guys who will fit in.”

The team, at least on the positional player side, is going through Lindor though. Pete Alonso has been outstanding, and the jump Brandon Nimmo has made this season might make a kangaroo jealous. But as the infield captain, entrenched in third place in the roster, earning the most money of any hitter on the team, Lindor is the man. He credited internal communication within the team as one of the reasons his batting average jumped 40 points from last year to this one, as well as his own habit of meticulous note taking and to crush the films of the opposing launchers.

“I learned that early in my career,” Lindor said after beating the Reds on Wednesday. “I saw Andrew Miller take notes and watch the batters he was going to face and had faced in previous times. I asked him why he was doing this, and he said he needed to study and prepare to be the best he could be, not just roll the dice every time he went out there. I took this to heart.

These Mets are a veteran team, devoid of any player who needs to be pampered or placed under the wing of an older player. Of the nine positional players who have made the most plate appearances, 27-year-old Alonso (born Dec. 7, 1994) is the youngest. For this reason, Lindor doesn’t need to take on that Miller role and explain how to be professional. But, if the Mets are still flying high in October, they’ll certainly be praising the shortstop who’s steered them all the way.



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Column: Tom Ricketts breaks his silence on the Chicago Cubs rebuild, saying the team is ‘making progress’

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Column: Tom Ricketts Breaks His Silence On The Chicago Cubs Rebuild, Saying The Team Is ‘Making Progress’

The Chicago Cubs are playing out the string in the 2022 season, just as they were doing this time last yea after selling off their stars.

It’s something fans are getting used to again after six straight years of watching contending teams, and something most fans expect will happen again next August.

So what’s the plan?

Know one really knows but Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and team President Jed Hoyer, and neither is providing specifics.

But as the Cubs prepared to go under the national spotlight Thursday in the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, Ricketts broke his silence on the rebuild.

“I’d be the first to acknowledge this is not the type of baseball Chicago Cubs fans deserve,” Ricketts said in a statement to the Tribune. “Our decision last year to move away from Cubs players who brought us a World Series title was tough, but we have a plan to return to championship contention by building the next great Cubs team around a young core of players augmented by free agent signings — and we’re making progress.”

Ricketts hasn’t been made available to reporters this season, unlike previous years, so it’s hard to pinpoint what “progress” he was referring to in his statement, parts of which first appeared on

The Cubs entered Thursday’ 45-65 and are on pace for 96 losses. They lost 91 games in 2021 and have a .392 winning percentage (65-101) since the ’21 trade deadline.

But Ricketts pointed to David Ross’ managing and the number of close games the Cubs have been in to suggest they’re competitive.

“While our record is the ultimate judge of success, I think ‘Rossy’ has done a great job of managing and inspiring the team to play hard all season,” he said. “We’ve been involved in 34 one-run games, tied for fourth-most in the (National League) and 58 games decided by two or fewer runs, tied for fifth-most in the majors.

“I like the fight, but we must do better because winning baseball is the expectation.”

Ricketts said Hoyer’s moves over the last year have put the Cubs in a “position of strength in both player and financial currency,” adding they “plan to be very active again” in free agency.

Sound familiar?

At the end of last season, Hoyer said the Cubs would spend money on free agents in an “intelligent” manner, and Ricketts sent an email to fans saying the team would spend money in a “thoughtful” way. The Cubs did spend on two big free agents, but whether the money was spent intelligently is up for debate.

Marcus Stroman, Hoyer’s biggest free-agent signing, has pitched well when healthy but hasn’t pitched enough to justify his three-year, $71 million deal. Stroman also can opt out after next season, so he could be gone by the time the Cubs rebuild turns a corner.

Seiya Suzuki, the Japanese star signed to an affordable five-year, $85 million deal, had a strong start in April but enters the Field of Dreams game hitting .225 with a .636 OPS in his previous 53 games since April 28.

Hoyer pointed to Suzuki and Ian Happ as reasons why there’s no room for Jason Heyward next season, a move most fans approved of after watching Heyward struggle most of his Cubs career.

Still, Suzuki must show vast improvement over the next two seasons to avoid being in the same boat as Heyward in the fourth year of his deal, at which point he’ll be making $19 million.

The spring training deals for veteran infielders that figured to be trade chips both flopped. Jonathan Villar and Andrelton Simmons were released after signing one-year deals. Waiver claim Wade Miley has pitched only 19 innings while rehabbing most of the season. Drew Smyly, who was slated to start Thursday, has looked good when healthy but is a back-of-the-rotation starter with a $4.25 million mutual option for next year.

With Kyle Hendricks’ future up in the air after 2023, Keegan Thompson and Justin Steele are the only current starters who probably can be penciled into the 2024 rotation. But Ricketts said Hoyer’s belief the Cubs have “turned a corner with our pitching infrastructure” is reason to believe in the team’s future. Thompson and Steele have both progressed significantly in ‘22, but the Cubs need to surround them with more young talent.

“We started the season with a staff of pitchers, who, if healthy, would have kept us more competitive this season,” Ricketts said. “We are beginning to see results with our starting pitching rotation and prospects coming up through the system and performing well, helping the team progress to a better-than-.500 record since the All-Star break. A great deal of credit goes to Jed and his team for building a solid pitching development program and culture.”

Nico Hoerner and Christopher Morel have become the new faces of the rebuild, and both figure to be around for the long haul. The Cubs are now deciding which other young players deserve a shot, including second baseman Nick Madrigal and 27-year-old Franmil Reyes, claimed on waivers from the Cleveland Guardians this week.

But there are no Kris Bryants, Kyle Schwarbers or Javier Báezes coming up from the system to supercharge the rebuild, and the likelihood of the Cubs bringing in a Jon Lester-type of free agent appears to be a long shot. After a loss to the New York Mets, Ross said they were playing a “first-place team with a $300 million payroll,” as if the Cubs were a small-market team that couldn’t keep up with the Joneses.

The Cubs have given no indication they plan on re-signing catcher Willson Contreras, whom Hoyer opted to keep at the trade deadline and will lose for a draft pick if he’s given a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere. Ricketts made no mention of Contreras.

Ricketts said “suffice it to say, we plan on making championship history again.”

When that will be is anyone’s guess.


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Chinese ship near Sri Lanka sparks Indian and US concerns, diplomatic stalemate

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Chinese Ship Near Sri Lanka Sparks Indian And Us Concerns, Diplomatic Stalemate
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NEW DELHI – The Chinese navy ship is reportedly decommissioned. He’s probably sailing somewhere in the Indian Ocean. And no one even knows where it will go.

But since last week, a 730ft-long Chinese satellite tracking vessel has been the source of growing tensions and a symbol of the growing geopolitical standoff between India and the United States and China over Sri Lanka at once. when the economically devastated island nation is caught between major financial backers.

Since July, the Yuan Wang 5 has been sailing from China to the port of Hambantota, at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, after Sri Lankan authorities approved a stopover there for “refilling”. But Indian and US officials have lobbied the Sri Lankan government heavily to revoke access to the port, infuriating their Chinese counterparts.

Caught in the middle, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that it had formally requested China to postpone the visit while adding that it “wishes to reaffirm the enduring friendship and excellent relations between the Sri Lanka and China”. Sri Lankan media reported on Thursday that the vessel had reduced speed and turned around, only to make another U-turn at sea and continue towards the island.

On Thursday – when the Yuan Wang 5 was originally due to arrive – Sri Lankan officials were still locked in negotiations with the Chinese over whether and when to let the ship dock, a senior Sri Lankan business ministry official said. foreigners with direct knowledge of the discussions. Indian, Chinese and US officials have all been lobbying hard behind the scenes, said the Sri Lankan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private government-to-government discussions.

While a Chinese navy vessel arriving at Hambantota is not strategically important, Indian and US officials say it would be seen as Sri Lanka giving special treatment to China, a major creditor, at a time when the embattled Colombo government must renegotiate its debt. with a host of international lenders and getting a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. As Sri Lanka’s economy went into freefall this year, India, which sees South Asia as its traditional sphere of influence and is seeking to reverse China’s growing role there, has granted to the island $4 billion in loans to purchase emergency fuel.

After ousting of leader, Sri Lanka still reeling from economic punch

Then there is the history of the port itself. China, which financed and built it for Sri Lanka in 2012, took control of the facility on a 99-year lease in 2017 after Sri Lanka struggled to repay its debts, prompting accusations of the Trump administration that Beijing has engaged in predatory lending with its Globe – Belt and Road infrastructure program.

This week, China indirectly accused India of “blatant interference” in its affairs and dismissed its complaints that sensors aboard the Yuan Wang 5 could be used to peer into India’s interior.

“It is unreasonable for a third party to put pressure on Sri Lanka due to so-called security concerns,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing.

The dispute mirrors the shenanigans between the United States and its partners and China unfolding around the world. Since taking office, President Biden has stepped up previous US administrations’ efforts to curb Chinese expansion in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and rallied countries such as India and Australia to help in the effort. For its part, India has asked for help from the United States to counter China, a regional rival with which it has ongoing border disputes.

According to US analysts, if China were to base military ships in Hambantota – which it has not done so far – the People’s Liberation Army would gain a foothold in a highly strategic location near important shipping lanes and the Persian Gulf. But analysts also say it is embarrassing for the US to openly call for denying China access to its port, given that Washington has historically embraced the principle of unrestricted shipping and often angers China. with its naval maneuvers.

The US Embassy in Colombo declined to comment.

“American ships make stops throughout Southeast Asia and East Asia that China finds uncomfortable, and vice versa,” said Joshua T. White, nonresident scholar at the Brookings Institution and former adviser on South Asia to President Barack Obama’s National Security Council.

In recent years, White said, Washington and New Delhi have increased military cooperation in the Indian Ocean to counter China. On Sunday, a US Navy freighter underwent repairs at a shipyard near Chennai, a southern Indian city near Sri Lanka. It was the first time India had allowed US Navy ships to dock for repairs, something the Pentagon had been seeking for years.

As the Yuan Wang 5 crossed the Indian Ocean this week and speculation surrounding the port visit skyrocketed, Indian and Chinese media were awash with hard-hitting commentary.

In India, newspapers have issued warnings about the ship’s surveillance capabilities after India’s foreign ministry issued a harsh statement on monitoring any activity that threatens Indian national security. Cable channels flashed the hashtag “#Chinesespyship” during news programs.

“Take Sri Lanka for example: their debt trap has already pushed the country to the brink, but Beijing is not done yet. They intend to create more problems for the island,” said Palki Sharma, presenter of pro-government network WION, in a prime-time monologue. “…Whether it’s humanitarian aid or IMF bailout talks, only India has stepped up to help Sri Lanka. China has largely played the spoilsport.

The Chinese were equally garish, especially after Sri Lanka asked to postpone the port visit.

“India is bullying a bankrupt country,” the host of a popular channel told Tencent News. “Just because India gave $4 billion, they think they are now the ringleaders. How does that amount compare to what China has given Sri Lanka over the years?”

Retired Admiral Arun Prakash, a former head of the Indian Navy, said temperatures needed to be lowered. A dispute between India and China has not benefited any country – not Sri Lanka, he said.

“We must respect Sri Lanka’s autonomy, especially at this time when they are on their knees,” he said. “It’s a sovereign country that can allow any ship in. We don’t have a Monroe Doctrine in the area.”


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