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International diplomacy, not force, could be the way forward in Maldives: China

China on Wednesday signalled that it could activate international diplomacy to resolve the crisis in Maldives, following an appeal by the country’s top opposition leader for India’s intervention in the archipelago.

“The international community should play a constructive role based on respecting the sovereignty of Maldives, instead of taking actions that may complicate the situation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in response to a question.

He added: “In the past few days, I have said that the current situation in the Maldives is its internal affairs. It should be properly resolved through dialogue and consultation by relevant parties.”

An official source who did not wish to be named told The Hindu, that China was sounding the “international community”—which included India, the United States and UN bodies– that the situation in Maldives should be resolved through a home-grown process. This was in view of reports about the possibility of “external intervention” in the archipelago that would undermine the country’s “sovereignty”.

In a statement, posted on Twitter, former Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed had appealed to New Delhi to send an envoy, backed by the military, to the strategically vital Indian Ocean nation. He also sought Washington’s help for imposing restrictions on the movement of funds of the Maldivian leaders, through US banks.

The political crisis in Maldives began to unfold on Friday after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the trial of the Mr. Nasheed was unconstitutional. The court also ordered the release of nine law makers – a step that could have restored the opposition’s majority in parliament, threatening the survival of the government of President Abdulla Yameen, known to be close to China.

The government has subsequently declared a state of emergency, followed by the detention of the chief justice of the Supreme Court. The country’s former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has also been taken into custody.

“We hope relevant parties in Maldives can properly resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation and restore the national stability and social order as soon as possible. We believe that Maldives political parties and people have the wisdom and capability to address this situation independently,” Mr. Geng observed.

In response to a query, the spokesperson highlighted that China’s Free Trade Area (FTA) deal with the Maldives signed in December, “serves the common interests of the two countries and two peoples.”

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Source URL: The Hindu

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