As the new year begins, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Li is all set for his foreign diplomatic trips to five littoral countries of the Indian Ocean Region including Island nations the Maldives and Sri Lanka. This initiative will likely strengthen China’s increasing economic and security stakes in the neighbouring countries.
On Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Mr Wang would begin his trip on January 4 and visit five nations that will include eastern African countries of Eritrea and Kenya, the island nation of Comoros, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
Chinese government spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that “The upcoming visit to the three countries in Africa is keeping up the Chinese foreign ministry’s 32 years tradition of choosing Africa for their first overseas visit every year”. He further added that the visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka “comes to the 50th anniversary of Chinese-Maldives diplomatic relations, 65th anniversary of Chinese-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations, and the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice pact between China and Sri Lanka”. However, India is alarmed by the Chinese growing relations with countries like the Maldives and Sri Lanka over the years in the South.