See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Politics

New airport construction adds to China’s influence in the Maldives

Maldives airport opened a new runway constructed by China this week, a sign of Beijing’s growing influence on the island nation.


Written by

Updated: September 20, 2018

Maldives airport opened its newly developed Code F runway at the Velana International Airport on Tuesday after two years of construction by Chinese firms.

According to Chinese state media, the new runway is a milestone project of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The contract for the airport expansion, including the development of the fuel farm, a cargo terminal, and the new runway, was signed between China and the Maldives in 2014, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Constructed by Beijing Urban Construction Group, a large international construction group based in China, the new runway is 3,400 meters long and 60 meters wide.

It is the latest push by China to gain influence over the politically troubled nation.

Earlier this year, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency after his power was challenged by the opposition. Dissidents were arrested and legal steps were put in place to cement the president’s hold on power. Yameen is known to have close ties to China and has previously broken off construction contracts with regional power India to hand them over to the Chinese.

Western nations including the US and the EU have released statements expressing concerns at Yameen’s actions with India also expressing its anxiety. The Chinese say they are practicing their policy of non-interference in regards to the Maldives but have continued to economically and diplomatically support Yameen’s government.

External Factors 

China has adopted a “String of Pearls” maritime strategy for increasing cooperation with nations along the shores of the Indian Ocean with the Maldives playing a key role. With a strategic position in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives has value beyond its reputation as a holiday paradise. China sees the island nation as a key link in its Belt and Road Initiative as part of its maritime silk road plan. The islands sit at one of the key points for sea routes that extend from Asia to the Middle East and Africa.

China has concluded long-term lease contracts involving islands in the Maldives and is promoting development projects there. The Maldives has so far this year attracted 726 thousand tourists, of which China accounted for 127 thousand, according to data from Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism.

India is highly nervous about these moves. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held telephone talks with U.S. President Donald Trump over the Maldivian situation, and they agreed that the rule of law should be respected. Evidently, their move was aimed at restraining China, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Politics

Two Canadians under investigation

China confirms that two Canadian are under investigation for endangering national security. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed on Thursday that compulsory measures have been taken on two Canadian nationals, in accordance with Chinese laws. The Canadians are suspected of engaging in activities endangering national security and the two cases are now under investigation, he told a press conference in Beijing. The Canadian embassy was informed of the cases without delay after necessary procedures were performed, he said, continuing that the legitimate rights and interests of the two Canadians are safeguarded.


By China Daily
December 14, 2018

Diplomacy, Politics

S. Korea joins nonbinding migration pact

Migration has a major talking point in Geneva as the UN moves towards a consensus. South Korea joined 163 UN member states in signing a nonbinding migration pact aimed at better handling the rising flow of migrants worldwide, despite growing anti-immigrant sentiment at home. The Global Compact for Migration was formally approved by 164 countries at a two-day conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. It is the first international accord on managing migration. The pact is not legally binding, and signing it would not immediately result in changes in South Korea’s immigration and refugee policies, according to the Foreign Ministry. “The compact is not legally binding, and the document precisely stipulates that each nation has sovereignty over immigration policies,“ the official said on condition of anonymity. “When we formulate our refugee and immigration policies, we could reflect some of th


By The Korea Herald
December 13, 2018

Diplomacy, Politics

Reuters reporter mark one year behind bars in Myanmar

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, have spent the past year behind bars in Myanmar for reporting on the massacre of Rohingya refugees. There is not much to be said here except go read the report, sign a petition, demand their release. The Reuters report can be found here. 


By Cod Satrusayang
December 13, 2018

Diplomacy, Politics

Congress bounces back as Modi’s BJP suffers big losses in state polls

The ruling party loses ground as opposition popularity rises. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi lost three key states in the Assembly polls, results that could boost the opposition’s chances in the general elections next year. The BJP lost the northern states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, and failed to make a mark in two others–Telangana and Mizoram. On the other hand, the Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi is rewriting a new narrative of its revival and resurgence in India’s politics— especially in the crucial electoral politics of the Hindi heartland— just ahead of the upcoming lower house elections. While it lost to caretaker K Chandrasekhar Rao in Telangana and was crushed by the tribal Mizo National Front in Mizoram, it won in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, and bagged 114 seats in Madhya Pradesh, two short of majority. Mu


By Asia News Network
December 12, 2018

Diplomacy, Politics

Political activity ban lifted ahead of 2019 election

Thailand’s military government lifted restrictions on political activities that have been in effect since the 2014 military coup. Thailand’s ruling junta has lifted a ban on political activities, paving the way for elections in February of 2019. The lifting reverses a prohibition on political parties convening meetings or organizing political activities. A ban forbidding the political gathering of five or more people is also restricted. The ban has been enacted to quell dissent and jail opposition leaders in a bid for the junta to consolidate its power. Campaign Election campaigning will begin from January 2 with elections scheduled for February 24. The Thaksin-backed Peu Thai party which was deposed by the military in 2014 is expected to gain a large number of votes as is the opposition Democrat party which ruled the country in the late 2000s. Bo


By Cod Satrusayang
December 12, 2018

Diplomacy, Politics

US sanctions N. Korea over human rights

North Korea condemns the US’ decision to impose sanctions on its high-ranking officials for human rights abuse. The US on Monday imposed sanctions on three senior North Korean officials for human rights abuses, amid Pyongyang’s continued silence in its denuclearization talks with Washington. The US Treasury Department announced the sanctions on Choe Ryong-hae, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party; Jong Kyong-thaek, minister of state security; and Pak Kwang-ho, director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department. The Treasury Department cited “brutal” human rights abuses and censorship as well as the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died in June 2017 shortly after he was released from captivity in North Korea, as the reasons behind the sanctions. The sanctions seize assets the officials may have in the US and ban any US entity from financial transactions with th


By The Korea Herald
December 12, 2018