The Edition


Maldives roots for China in South China Sea dispute

Fathmath Shaahunaz
04 January 2017, MVT 20:09
Chinese naval frigates conducting training programs in the South China Sea. PHOTO/AFP
Fathmath Shaahunaz
04 January 2017, MVT 20:09

The Maldives has declared for China over the disputed islands of the South China Sea, announced the Asian giant on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in his address to mark the New Year, Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Wang Fukang proclaimed that the Maldives is closely assisting China in international matters. He cited the Maldives’ support in the Chinese government spearheaded project of establishing a New Silk Route and the contentious South China Sea issue as examples.

The Ambassador assured China’s full support in maintaining the archipelago’s sovereignty and progressive future in return.

The Maldives had previously been neutral in the South China Sea dispute, in which several Southeast Asian countries and the United States are claiming ownership.

Meanwhile, the International Court had ruled against China last year July in the South China Sea feud. The Philippines had taken the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2013, seeking a verdict invalidating China’s rights to the contentious region.

While the international tribunal has ruled in favour of the Philippines’ claim, China has refused to recognise the verdict. Furthermore, the International Court does not wield the authority to implement its decisions, despite its rulings being mandated to follow under international law.

China’s claims of having the Maldives’ support in the matter has arrived at a period when the island nation is rapidly strengthening its relations with the Asian super power. The president has also implied that the Maldives’ foreign affairs policy is leaning towards China.