'New govt would review China FTA', Nasheed warns Beijing

In the wake of intense opposition criticism over the rushed signing of a free trade agreement with China, main opposition leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed has warned Beijing that a new Maldives government would be forced to review the landmark agreement.

The contentious agreement was signed after the official talks between Maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during the former's first state visit to the global super power last week.

The Maldives' fast-tracking of the FTA with China has sparked concerns alleging that Sino-Maldivian trade balance remains considerably in favour of China, and there are concerns that the FTA will further increase the deficit and push Maldives towards a debt trap like Sri Lanka -- an issue that has alarmed Delhi amid apprehensions of neighbourhood plunging into economic crisis in future.

The FTA for the Maldives, under which China will exempt its Maldivian imports, mostly fisheries products, from tax. In turn, the Maldives would waive tariffs on its Chinese imports.

Nasheed who is currently living in self imposed exile in the UK reiterated on Twitter that The FTA with China was unlawfully rushed through parliament referring to how government lawmakers rubber stamped the nearly 1,000 page agreement in less than half hour just before president Yameen's visit to China.

"Beijing should understand that a new Gov. will be forced to review it," Nasheed warned with a united opposition hoping to dash president Yameen's re-election hopes next year.

China has defended its much-criticized free trade agreement with Maldives, saying it serves the interests of the two countries and the entire region.