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Maldives crisis: China says it is against external intervention in Maldives

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BEIJING: China said on Wednesday it was against any external intervention in the political turmoil in the Maldives. The statement is apparently aimed at India because Maldives opposition leaders have been seeking Indian military intervention to preserve democracy in the island nation.

“The international community should play a constructive role on the basis of respecting the sovereignty of the Maldives rather than take actions that may further complicate the situation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said without mentioning India.

At stake for China is the free trade agreement it has signed with the Maldives, which has been criticised by opposition leaders in Male. China has invested heavily in the island nation in the hope of access to the Indian Ocean, which is something India is concerned about.

Former Maldivian president and opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed tweeted on Tuesday that India should send a special envoy backed by its military to release judges and political leaders who have been imprisoned by President Abdulla Yameen. The country’s Supreme Court recently ordered the release of nine jailed politicians, describing their trial as “politically motivated and flawed”.

Yameen has arrested another former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and Supreme Court judges, resulting in political turmoil.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the country should be allowed to resolve its problems internally, without outside intervention. “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,” Geng said.

Maldives opposition parties have said President Yameen has been emboldened by China’s support. He has signed an FTA with Beijing and approved several Chinese projects in the country.

“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 the signing of the FTA cooperation has benefited the two peoples,” Geng said. “The current situation in the Maldives is its internal affair. China follows the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of others,” he said.

Updated: February 7, 2018 — 6:18 pm

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