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Handle crisis in Maldives "properly": China

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 20:13

Beijing: China on Tuesday reacted cautiously to the political turmoil in Maldives and former President Mohamed Nasheed`s decision to seek refuge in the Indian mission in Male, hoping that the issue will be handled "properly".

"The Chinese side sincerely hopes that Maldives could maintain peace, stability and development, and hopes and believes that relevant issue could be properly handled," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in brief written response to question from PTI here on the situation in Maldives.

This is the first time the Chinese government reacted to the crisis in Male, while the official media here reported the day-to-day developments unfolding in the Maldivian capital as well as New Delhi`s response.

45-year-old Nasheed took refuge in the Indian High Commission on February 13 to evade arrest warrant issued by a Male court in a case concerning the detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court during his Presidency in January last year.

China has expanded its influence in India`s backyard in recent years with aid and heavy investment both in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

China opened its Embassy in Male in 2011 which is the only diplomatic mission there other than that of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

US Embassy in Colombo looks after American interests in Maldives.
Beijing-Male relations were strengthened by visits of the current President Mohammed Waheed, who took over power after Nasheed was "forced out" of Presidency.

China pledged USD 500 million aid during Waheed`s visit here in last September while its tourists numbers have overtaken that of those from Europe in the Indian ocean islands, expanding Beijing`s influence in Male.

Whaeed had denied speculation that his government`s decision to terminate Indian infrastructure major GMR`s Male airport contract has anything to do with China`s growing influence in his country.


First Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 20:13

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