US defense concern on growing ties between Maldives-China
The US defense department had confirmed they are concerned about the rumors of China influencing and possibly exploiting Maldives.
Speaking to Press Trust of India, the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia Dr. Joseph H. Felter stated there has been growing concerns by the US over several unprecedented events in the island nation.
Felter also commented about their worries regarding China's grip on the Indian Ocean archipelago as the west suspects the Maldives is an important asset for the Asian giant for reasons yet unknown.
"[Maldives] lies in India's backyard. We know this concerns the Indian government and we will be monitoring this closely. That's one of the top priorities in our defense strategy as well," Felter noted.
The US defense deputy assistant secretary had made the comments in light of former president of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed's public accusation of China exploiting the ties with Maldives and grabbing land for their own military strategies.
Felter noted that the US aims for the Indian and Pacific Ocean to be regions that falls under international maritime regulations without the influence or military hegemony by any one nation. He also stressed that several maritime activities by the China in Indian Ocean region are concerns of the US defense as well.