Min­istry brands Mal­dives claims ‘ridicu­lous’

China Daily - - TOP NEWS - By WANG QINGYUN wangqingyun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bei­jing dis­missed a for­mer Mal­di­vian pres­i­dent’s re­marks on China-Mal­dives co­op­er­a­tion as one-sided and dis­parag­ing on Tues­day.

Mo­hamed Nasheed, who served as pres­i­dent from 2008 to 2012, has ac­cused China of tak­ing con­trol of 17 is­lands in the Mal­dives, Times of In­dia re­ported on Satur­day.

He said he will seek an in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tion against what he called a land grab and will force China to sign it if he is re­turned to power.

Nasheed’s re­marks, which echoed those he made last week, are “pure fabri­ca­tion” and “ridicu­lous”, For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tues­day.

“I need to re­mind Mr Nasheed that it is ul­ti­mately up to peo­ple in the two coun­tries to judge and say whether China-Mal­dives co­op­er­a­tion is in line with both sides’ in­ter­ests and whether it has ben­e­fited them and their peo­ple,” he said.

Geng added that the co­op­er­a­tion will not be den­i­grated by “some in­di­vid­u­als’ one-sided re­marks”.

In an ar­ti­cle penned by Nasheed and pub­lished in The In­dian Ex­press on Feb 7, the for­mer pres­i­dent said he fears “the Mal­dives is be­ing sold off to China”.

At a brief­ing the fol­low­ing day, Geng dis­missed the claim as “ab­so­lute non­sense”. Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the Mal­dives is be­ing car­ried out in the spirit of mu­tual re­spect and equal­ity, and has played a pos­i­tive role in help­ing the Mal­dives up­grade its econ­omy and im­prove peo­ple’s lives, he said.

“When Mr Nasheed was pres­i­dent, China also of­fered as­sis­tance to and con­ducted prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion with his coun­try, which led to enor­mous out­comes. Would Mr Nasheed call that a ‘grab’ as well?” the spokesman said.

China’s as­sis­tance comes with no po­lit­i­cal strings and in no way im­pairs the sovereignty or in­de­pen­dence of the Mal­dives, not to men­tion se­cu­rity in the In­dian Ocean, Geng said on Thurs­day.

The Mal­dives, an ar­chi­pel­ago in the In­dian Ocean, de­scended into cri­sis on Feb 1 when its Supreme Court or­dered the re­lease of sev­eral jailed politi­cians and quashed a con­vic­tion against Nasheed, who lives in self-im­posed ex­ile. That de­ci­sion was over­turned on Feb 6.

China has been fol­low­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely and said it be­lieves the dis­pute is the Mal­dives’ in­ter­nal af­fairs and should be solved through di­a­logue be­tween the par­ties in­volved.

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