Close relations between the Maldives and India are not a threat to China, the Asian super power has declared.
An editorial of The Global Times, a daily Chinese tabloid paper aligned with the ruling Communist Party, stated that the newly elected President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration is viewed as "pro-India" by Indian and Western media, but that did not necessarily mean "anti-China".
"China has no objection to neighboring countries having a close relationship with India. But we are living in an era when India can no longer monopolize foreign relations of those nations. They will unavoidably develop ties with other countries including China," read the op-ed, urging both India and China to be open to their neighbours developing relations with the other.
The Global Times went on to say that should small countries such as Maldives change their foreign policies with every transfer of power, it would pose difficulty to both China and India.
"The two (China and India) should support these small countries in adopting stable foreign policy and protecting foreign investment."
The editorial further highlighted that China is the biggest investor and tourism market for the Maldives, and expressed hopes that Solih's administration will recognise Chinese funds, technology and friendship as crucial for the economic development of the island nation.
The Global Times' statements comes amidst speculations by some foreign media that Solih's inauguration speech, in which he highlighted India, implied that the Maldives has swung away from China's influence. The speculations included rumours that the new administration would annul the former's deals with China.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed had, in a recent interview to BBC, spoken in favour of nullifying the Maldives' Free Trade Agreement with China, claiming that the FTA was too one-sided.