Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on February 9, 2018
Q: First, the Maldives’ Special Envoy is here holding talks with the Chinese officials. Perhaps you can tell us what exactly is the request from the Maldives and what kind of support is China going to extend to them? Second, the Maldives’ situation figured very prominently in the telephone talks between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi today where they expressed concerns and wanted the Maldives’ government to implement the rule of law in the Maldives. Also, the UN Security Council has met and the UN Assistant Secretary General has warned the UN Security Council ahead of the meeting that the situation in the Maldives could deteriorate further if no action is taken by the international community. What is your reaction?
A: With regard to your first question, on February 8, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with President Yameen’s Special Envoy, the Maldivian Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed. Minister Saeed briefed on the current situation in the Maldives and said that the Maldivian government is committed to upholding the rule of law and order, independently resolving the issues facing that country and realizing national stability and development. The Maldives has the capability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in the Maldives with all-out efforts.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China has been following the development of the situation in the Maldives and believes that the Maldivian government and people have the wisdom and capability to properly handle the current problem and resume the normal national order in accordance with the law. China will not interfere in the internal affairs of the Maldives, and this is also a basic norm governing the international relations enshrined in the UN Charter. We support the Maldivian government in resolving differences with relevant parties in the Maldives through dialogue and negotiation and upholding the independence, sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests of the nation. The international community should play a constructive role in promoting stability and development of that country on the basis of respecting its will. China has provided selfless assistance to the socio-economic development of the Maldives, and the China-Maldives cooperation has delivered benefits to all the Maldivian people. We hope the China-Maldives comprehensive friendly cooperative partnership will keep developing in a sound and steady manner.
Before the meeting, Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou held a talk with Minister Saeed.
On your second question, what happens now in the Maldives falls within that country’s internal affairs and should be properly resolved by various parties in the Maldives through dialogue and negotiation. The international community should play a constructive role on the basis of respecting the Maldives’ sovereignty and will rather than take actions that may complicate the situation.
Q: Reports say that according to Indian military sources, India has placed its military on high alert, and the country’s special forces units are on standby to help restore order in and evacuate Indians from the Maldives. What’s your comment on that?
A: As I just said, what happens now in the Maldives falls within that country’s internal affairs. Non-interference in one’s internal affairs is a basic norm governing the international relations enshrined in the UN Charter. The international community should play a constructive role in promoting stability and development of the Maldives on the basis of respecting its sovereignty and will instead of doing the opposite.
Q: In his talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, did the Maldives’ Special Envoy explained how are they going to resolve the situation specifically when they say they would like to do it internally?
A: Like what I said just now, Minister Saeed said that the Maldivian government commits itself to upholding the rule of law and order, independently resolving the issues facing the country and achieving national stability and development.
Q: What did you mean by independently resolving the issues? Does that mean unilaterally resolving? Because the problem will be unilaterally solved as the opposition leaders and the Supreme Court judges are behind the bars. Does China have any response to that?
A: You’d better ask the Maldivian government for how they will resolve their internal affairs. I would like to stress hereby that China believes that the Maldivian government and people have the wisdom and capability to properly handle the current problem.
Follow-up: Did the Special Envoy indicate that they would like to seek China’s help to resolve the issue or want China’s mediation in the matter?
A: The diplomatic channel between Chin and the Maldives remains unimpeded and the two sides maintain normal friendly exchanges