Thursday, February 8, 2018

Maldives crisis: China comes to Yameens rescue as India calls for restoration of democratic values

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/maldives-crisis-china-comes-to-yameens-rescue-as-india-calls-for-restoration-of-democratic-values/articleshow/62822769.cms

By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | Feb 7, 2018, 07.01PM IST

File pic: Abdulla Yameen takes his oath as the President of Maldives during a swearing-in ceremony at the parliament in Male.

NEW DELHI: Amid mounting international pressure on Maldives including from its biggest neighbour India to safeguard democracy China on Wednesday came to the rescue of its ally President Yameen and suggested that any intervention from outside would only complicate the situation in the Indian Ocean country.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday opposed any military intervention in the Maldives, saying such a move would further complicate the situation, a day after former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheedsought India's help to resolve the political crisis in the island nation and India put its troops on standby for any eventuality including evacuation of its nationals and nationals of other friendly countries.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "The international community should play a constructive role on the basis of respecting the Maldives sovereignty instead of taking measures that could complicate the current situation."

Asked how the situation could resolved internally when Yameen has arrested the Supreme Court judges as well as former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Geng said China's stand is that relevant parties should find a solution internally.

"I made myself clear. We hope relevant parties in the Maldives can properly resolve the issue through consultation and restore national stability and social order as soon as possible. We believe they (have) wisdom and capability to address the situation independently," he said without mentioning India.

He sought to refute allegations by the Maldives opposition parties that China is backing Yameen because he has approved several Chinese projects and signed the controversial Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China during his visit to Beijing in December.

"China maintains friendly cooperation with the Maldives including the FTA which serves the common interests of the two countries.

The facts have proven that after signing of the FTA cooperation has benefited the two peoples," Geng said.

"The current situation in Maldives is its internal affairs. China follows the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of others," he said.

China views the Maldives as key to its Maritime Silk Road project in the Indian Ocean and it has acquired two islands in the archipelago much to India's discomfiture.

The Chinese official media which was silent since the crisis broke out in Maldives last week came out on Wednesday in support of Yameen's regime. The Global Times came out with an editorial saying 'India must stop intervening in Male'.

"Political struggles are supposed to be internal affairs, and New Delhi has no justification to intervene in Male's affairs. The Maldives must be under huge pressure from India," it said

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