Chinese president wins Maldives backing for ‘maritime silk route’

Chinese president wins Maldives backing for ‘maritime silk route’
Updated 15 September 2014

Chinese president wins Maldives backing for ‘maritime silk route’

Chinese president wins Maldives backing for ‘maritime silk route’

MALE, Maldives: China’s President Xi Jinping secured Maldivian support Monday for a “21st century maritime silk road” as he began a South Asian tour in the strategically located Indian Ocean atoll nation.
The Maldives is best known for its tourist industry but also straddles major international shipping lanes, and Chinese investment there has grown significantly as Beijing tries to secure vital trade routes.
In a joint statement, the two countries also said they agreed to cooperate on security issues — a potentially sensitive issue in a region traditionally dominated by India.
“The Maldives welcomes and supports the proposal put forward by China to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and is prepared to actively participate in relevant cooperation,” the statement said.
“The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in other areas, such as marine, economy, and security,” it said, without elaborating.
Xi is the first Chinese head of state to visit the Maldives since the former British protectorate gained independence in 1965.
It is his second meeting with President Abdulla Yameen in a matter of weeks, following their talks last month in the Chinese city of Nanjing.
India has regarded China’s growing influence among its neighbors with concern, leading new Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prioritise regional relationships which critics say the previous government neglected.