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 Former Maldives President accuses China for colonising islets

Chinese interests had leased at least 16 islets among the 1,192 scattered coral islands and were building ports and other infrastructure in coral islets



JAN 23

 

 Former Maldives President accuses China for colonising islets

Introduction

  • Exiled Maldives Opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed accused China of seizing land in the politically-troubled Indian Ocean archipelago and undermining its sovereignty.

Undermining sovereignty

  • Chinese interests had leased at least 16 islets among the 1,192 scattered coral islands and were building ports and other infrastructure there.
  • The increased Chinese presence could threaten the Muslim-majority nation of 3,40,000 and the wider Indian Ocean region.
  • “This is colonialism and we must not allow it. We want other countries [in the region] to join us and speak the same language [against Chinese expansion]. We are not against any country, not against direct foreign investment, but we are against relinquishing our sovereignty.” He said.

Repaying debts

  • Mr. Nasheed said 80% of the Maldives’ foreign debt was owed to China and the nation could end up handing over more land and infrastructure as it may not be able to repay the loans.
  • He was referring to Sri Lanka’s experience under former President Mahinda Rajapakse who borrowed heavily from China. The new government had to sell projects to repay debts.

Keywords:

  • Former Maldives President