IDEAS, MALDIVES-CHINA RELATIONS AND BALANCE OF POWER DYNAMICS IN SOUTH ASIA

Athaulla A. Rasheed

Abstract


Today we observe an enhanced development cooperation between the Maldives and China. This article discusses a constructivist viewpoint about Maldives-China relations and their relational impact on the state of power dynamics in the South Asia region. It makes two conceptual claims: first, that Maldives-China relations are shaped by mutual ideas about development cooperation and second, that an intersubjective process of foreign policy making has influenced the power dynamics in South Asia. According to this ideational framework, coalition or alliance is formed and shaped by ideas constitutive of individual preferences of the Maldives towards China rather than traditional power arrangements between South Asian neighbours. It explains that foreign policy interests of the Maldives are not exclusively shaped by materialist and strategic positions of other states in South Asia.


Keywords


China; Maldives; South Asia, regional balance of power, constructivism; foreign policy

Full Text:

PDF XPS

References


Adler, E. (2012). Constructivism in international relations: sources, contributions, and debates. In W. Carlsnaes, T. Risse and B. A. Simmons (Eds) Handbook of International Relations. London: SAGE Publications.

Al Jazeera (2012) ‘Small justice served to small states’: Waheed speaks at UN. In Minivan News. Retrieved from https://minivannewsarchive.com/politics/small-justice-served-to-small-states-waheed-speaks-at-un-44347.

Aljazeera (2013). Maldives swears in new president. Retrieved from http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/11/17/maldives-swears-innewpresident.html.

Antola, E. (2002). The future of small states in the EU. In M. Farrell, S. Fella, & M. Newman (Eds), European Integration in the 21st Century. London: Sage.

Asian Development Bank (2015). Maldives overcoming the challenges of a small island state. Retrieved from https://www.adb.org/publications/maldives-overcoming-challenges-small-island-state

Asia-Pacific Edition (2018). Spotlight: Former Maldivian president's statement on China "grabbing land" false, irresponsible. Retrieved from http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-02/15/c_136977580.htm.

Asim, M. (2016). The Commonwealth’s attitude towards small nations is nothing but kneejerk grandstanding–and that’s why the Maldives has quit. In Independent. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/maldives-leaves-commonwealth-this-is-why-small-nations-kneejerk-grandstanding-a7363981.html.

Barletta, M. and Trinkunas, H. (2004). Regime type and regional security in Latin America: toward a “Balance of Identity” theory. In T.V. Paul, J. J. Wirtz & M. Fortmann (Eds), Balance of Power (pp. 334–359). Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Béland, D. (2009). Ideas, institutions, and policy change. Journal of European Public Policy, 16(5), 701–718.

Betzold, C., Castro, P. & Weiler, F. (2012). AOSIS in the UNFCCC negotiations: from unity to fragmentation? Climate Policy, 12, 591–613.

Blyth, M. (2002). Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Browning, C. S. (2006). Small, smart and salient? Rethinking identity in the small states literature. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 19(4), 669–684.

Busse, N. (1999). Constructivism and Southeast Asian Security. The Pacific Review, 12(1), 39–60.

Cheng, J. Y. S. & Wankun, Z. (2002). Patterns and dynamics of China's international strategic behaviour. Journal of Contemporary China, 11(31), 235–260.

Chinese Embassy (2011). President of Maldives Nasheed Meets with Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun. Retrieved from http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zgyw/t876708.htm.

Chinese Embassy in Australia (2018). Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on February 8, 2018. Retrieved from http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/fyrth/t1533175.htm.

Chong, A. & Maass, M. (2010). Introduction: the foreign policy power of small states. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 23(3), 381–382.

Chung, C. P. (2018). What are the strategic and economic implications for South Asia of China's Maritime Silk Road initiative? The Pacific Review, 31(3), 315–332.

Cornett, P. (2016). China’s “New Silk Road” and US-Japan alliance geostrategy: challenges and opportunities. Issues & Insights, 16(10). Retrieved from https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/issuesinsights_vol16no10.pdf.

Daddow, Oliver (2018). Interpreting foreign policy through discourse analysis. Retreived from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/interpreting-foreign-policy-through-discourse-analysis/

Das, K. C. (2017). The making of One Belt, One Road and dilemmas in South Asia. China Report, 53(2), 125–142.

Dasgubta, S. (2017). Maldives, China sign 12 agreements to promote OBOR. The Times of India. Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/maldives-china-sign-12-agreeements-to-promote-obor/articleshow/61987083.cms.

Dasgubta, S. (2018). China says it is against external intervention in the Maldives. The Times of India. Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-says-it-is-against-external-intervention-in-maldives/articleshow/62825671.cms.

Doty, R. L. (1993). Foreign policy as social construction. International Studies Quarterly, 37(2), 297–320.

Evan, R. (2013). Maldives judges undermining democracy: U.N. rights chief. Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-maldives-idUSBRE99T0UZ20131030.

Flockhart, T. (2008). Constructivism and Foreign Policy. In S. Smith, A. Hadfield & T. Dunne (Eds), Foreign Policy: Theories, Actors, Cases. UK: Oxford University Press.

Ganguly, S. and Scobell, A. (2005). India and the United States: forging a security partnership. World Policy Journal, 22(2), 40.

Gayoom, A. Y. A. (2014). Press statement by His Excellency Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives, on the state visit by His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China. Retrieved from http://www.foreign.gov.mv/index.php/en/mediacentre/news/2716-press-statement-by-his-excellency-abdulla-yameen-abdul-gayoom-president-of-the-republic-of-maldives-on-the-state-visit-by-his-excellency-xi-jinping-president-of-the-people-s-republic-of-china

Ghosh, P.K. (2017). Power dynamics in the Indian Ocean region: India’s maritime outreach. IAPS Dialogue: The Online Magazine of the Institute of Asia & Pacific Studies. Retrieved from https://iapsdialogue.org/2017/04/05/power-dynamics-in-indian-ocean-region-indias-maritime-outreach/

Haibing, Z. (2017). The development and transformation of China’s foreign aid. In M. P. Goodman, D. Remler & Y. Yu (Eds), Parallel Perspectives on the Global Economic Order: A U.S.-China Essay Collection. Washington: Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved from https://www.csis.org/development-and-transformation-chinas-foreign-aid

Hellmann, G. & Wolf, R. (1993). Neorealism neoliberal institutionalism, and the future of NATO. Security Studies, 3(1), 3–43.

Hey, J. A. K. (2003). Small States in World Politics: Explaining Foreign Policy Behaviour. USA: Lynne Reinner Publishers, Inc.

Houghton, D. P. (2007). Reinvigorating the study of foreign policy decision making: toward a constructivist approach. Foreign Policy Analysis, 3(1), 24–45.

Jacob, J. (2018). China’s growing ties with Maldives give India the jitters. Hisdustan Times. Retrieved from https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/china-s-growing-ties-with-maldives-gives-india-the-jitters/story-XJ1U8OXwbiTmb6Or4TqCYO.html.

Jahangir, A. (2013). Changing dynamics of South Asian balance of power. Journal of South Asian Studies, 01(01), 50–58.

Jaschik, K. (2014). Small states and international politics: Climate change, the Maldives and Tuvalu. International Politics, 51(2), 272–293.

Jervis, R. (1978). Co-operation under the security dilemma. World Politics, 30(2), 167–214.

Joshi, R. (2018). View: China testing India’s resolve in Maldives. The Economic Times. Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/view-china-testing-indias-resolve-in-maldives/articleshow/63135488.cms

Khaleel, Ali (1999). Foreign Policy Orientation of Small Island States: An Evaluation of the Foreign Policies of Vanuatu and the Maldives. Canterbury: University of Canterbury. Retrieved from https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/4594

Katzenstein, P. (Ed). (1996). The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics. New York: Columbia University Press.

Keohane R. O. (1969). ‘Lilliputians’ dilemmas: small states in international politics. International Organization, 23(2), 291–310.

Keohane R. O. (1984). After hegemony: cooperation and discord in the political economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Keohane, R. O. (1989). International Institutions and State Power. London: Westview Press, Inc.

Kowert, P. A. (2001). The peril and promise of constructivist theory. 立命館国際研究 13(3). Retrieved from http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/acd/cg/ir/college/bulletin/vol13-3/13-3-12Kowert.pdf

Kumar, A. (2012). Chinese engagement with the Maldives: impact on security environment in the Indian Ocean region. Strategic Analysis, 36(2), 276–289.

Kumar, S. Y. S. (2016). China’s footprints in Maldives: concern for india? Artha Journal of Social Sciences, 15(4), 15–29.

Lee, D. & Smith, N. J. (2010). Small state discourses in the international political economy. Third World Quarterly, 31(7), 1091–1105.

Maldives Independent (2015). President Yameen’s speech on 50 years of UN membership. at https://maldivesindependent.com/politics/president-yameens-speech-on-50-years-of-un-membership-120410.

Maldives Mission (2015). Statement by H.E. Ms. Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the General Debate of the Seventieth Session of the UN General Assembly - 3 October 2015. Retrieved from http://maldivesmission.com/index.php/statements/statement_by_he_ms_dunya_maumoon_minister_of_foreign_affairs_at_the_general_debate_of_the_seventieth_session_of_the_un_general_assembly_3_october_2015.

Mitra, D. (2017). Modi criticises china's One Belt One Road plan, says connectivity can't undermine sovereignty. The Wire. Retrieved from https://thewire.in/diplomacy/modi-criticises-chinas-one-belt-one-road-plan-says-connectivity-corridors-cant-undermine-sovereignty

Ministry of Commerce of China (2017). ‘Interpretation of the China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement by Director-General of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of MOFCOM’. Retrieved from http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/newsrelease/policyreleasing/201712/20171202690631.shtml

Panke, D. (2012). Small states in multilateral negotiations. What have we learned? Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 25(3), 387–398.

Pararajasingham, A. (2017). India’s Regional Power Credentials Under Threat by China. The Diplomat. Retrieved from https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/indias-regional-power-credentials-under-threat-by-china/.

Paul, T.V., Wirtz, J. J. & Fortmann, M. (2004). Balance of Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

President’s Office (2014a). Joint press communique between the Republic of Maldives and the People’s Republic of China, 15 September 2014, Male'. Retrieved from http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/Index.aspx?lid=12&dcid=14810

President’s Office (2014b). Remarks by ‎ His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, during the Joint Press Statement with President Yameen. Retrieved from http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/Index.aspx?lid=12&dcid=14822.

President’s Office (2015). “China is one of our closest friends” – Vice President. Retrieved from https://presidency.gov.mv/presidentNews/news/1216.

President’s Office (2017a). Unofficial Translation of the Independence Day Remarks by His Excellency Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives. Retrieved from http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/Index.aspx?lid=12&dcid=18056

President’s Office (2017b). Statement by His Excellency Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives, at China-Maldives Business Leaders forum. Retrieved from http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/Index.aspx?lid=12&dcid=18520

Ramachandran, S. (2018). The China-Maldives vonnection: with a new FTA, China cements its influence in Maldives, much to India’s dismay. The Diplomat. Retrieved from https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/the-china-maldives-connection/.

Rasheed, A. A (2013). An institutionalist approach to understand the recent political change in the Maldives. LAWASIA journal of the University of Queensland, Australia.

Rasheed, A. A (2015). Development, development policy and governance in the Maldives: A political economy perspective. MNU Journal, Maldives 3(1). Retrieved from http://www.mnu.edu.mv/index.php/research/1489-Maldives-Journal-of-Research

Rasheed, A. A. (2016). Changing China-South Asia Relations: A Constructivist Approach. Dialogue e-Journal. Retrieved from http://dialoguejournal.org.au/category/articles/

Reuters (2015). Maldives allows foreign ownership of land despite opposition concern. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/maldives-land-foreigners-idUSL3N1024IL20150723.

Reuters (2016). Britain could use sanctions to pressure Maldives government. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-maldives-nasheed-idUSKCN0V51LJ.

Reuters (2017). Maldives rushes through trade pact with China despite opposition. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-maldives-china/maldives-rushes-through-trade-pact-with-china-despite-opposition-idUSKBN1E22N4.

Robinson, J.J. (2013). New Maldives leader vows stability after crisis, protests. Reuters. Retrieve from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-maldives-election/new-maldives-leader-vows-stability-after-crisis-protests-idUSBRE9AG09L20131117.

Rousseau, D. L. & Garcia-Retamero, R. (2007). Identity, power, and threat perception: a cross-national experimental study. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 51(5).

Rowlands, I. H. (2001). Classical theories of international relations. In U. Luterbacher & D. F. Sprinz (Eds), International Relations and Global Climate Change (Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation). Massachusetts: the MIT Press.

Schweller, R. L. (2016). The balance of power in world politics. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Retrieved from http://politics.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228637-e-119

Shaahunaaz, F. (2016). Maldives pledges full support for China’s new silk road. Retrieved from http://en.mihaaru.com/news/1593

Sharma, R. (2012). India, Maldives Row Over Airport Contract. The Diplomat. Retrieved from https://thediplomat.com/2012/12/india-maldives-row-over-airport-contract/.

Simpson, A. W. (2006). Small states in world politics. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 19(4), 649–649.

Small, A. (2018). The backlash to Belt and Road: a south Asian battle over Chinese economic power. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2018-02-16/backlash-belt-and-road

Smith, S. (2001). Foreign policy is what states make of it. In V. Kubalkova (Ed), Foreign Policy in A Constructed World. London & New York: M. S. Sharpe.

South China Morning Post (2018). Maldives looks to ‘long lost cousin’ China, despite ‘brother’ India’s concern. Retrieved from https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2138504/maldives-looks-long-lost-cousin-china-despite-brother.

State Council of PRC (2014). China’s foreign aid (2014). Retrieved from http://english.gov.cn/archive/white_paper/2014/08/23/content_281474982986592.htm

The Guardian (2015). Release Mohamed Nasheed – an innocent man and the Maldives’ great hope. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/30/release-mohamed-nasheed-maldives-president-conviction.

The Guardian (2016). Maldives quits Commonwealth over alleged rights abuses. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/13/maldives-quits-commonwealth-over-alleged-rights-abuses

The Guardian (2017). 'We need development': Maldives switches focus from climate threat to mass tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/03/maldives-plan-to-embrace-mass-tourism-sparks-criticism-and-outrage.

The Indian Express (2018). Why is the FTA between China and Maldives important to India? Retrieved from https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maldives-fta-india-china-4983730/.

The Ministry of Commerce of China (2017). China and Maldives Sign the Free Trade Agreement. Retrieved from http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/newsrelease/significantnews/201712/20171202683630.shtml.

The Sunday Leader (2018). China will not interfere in the internal affairs of the Maldives. Retrieved from http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2018/02/10/china-will-not-interfere-in-the-internal-affairs-of-the-maldives/.

Thomas, R. G. C. (2004). South Asian security balancing in a Western dominant world. In T.V. Paul, J. J. Wirtz & M. Fortmann (Eds), Balance of Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Tiezzi, S. (2018). China to India: Respect Maldives’ Sovereignty. The Diplomat. Retrieved form https://thediplomat.com/2018/02/china-to-india-respect-maldives-sovereignty/.

UN (2009). Statement by His Excellency Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Republic of Maldives to the General Debate of the General Assembly. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/ga/64/generaldebate/pdf/MV_en.pdf.

Walt, S. M. (1985). Alliance Formation and the balance of world power. International Security, 9(4). 3–43.

Walt, S. M. (1987). The Origins of Alliances. NY: Cornell University Press.

Waltz, K. N. (1979). Theory of International Politics. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Wendt, A. (1992). Anarchy is what states make of it. International Organization 46, 394–419.

Wendt, A. (1999). Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wicaksana, I.G. W. (2009). The constructivist approach towards foreign policy analysis. Indonesian Journal of Social Sciences, 1(1).

Widmaier, W. W. (2005). The democratic peace is what states make of it: a constructivist analysis of the US-Indian ‘Near-Miss’ in the 1979 South Asian Crisis. European Journal of International Relations, 11(3), 431–455.

Widmaier, W. W. (2017). Constructing foreign policy crises: interpretive leadership in the cold war and war on terrorism. International Studies Quarterly, 51(4), 779–794.

Wivel, A. (2005), The security challenge of small EU member states: interests, identity and the development of the EU as a security actor. JCMS, 43(2), 393–412.

Xinhuanet (2018). Feature: China-Maldives Friendship Bridge leads to brighter future of Maldives. Retrieved from http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/asiapacific/2018-08/31/c_137433833.htm

Xinhuanet (2017) “Work Together to Build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”: Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People's Republic of China At the Opening Ceremony of The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on 14 May 2017. Retrieved from http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-05/14/c_136282982.htm

Yanbing, Z. & Ying, H. (2012). Foreign aid: the ideological differences between China and the West. CIR 22(2). Retrieved from http://www.eastviewpress.com/Files/CIR_2_2012_Archive.pdf.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


  Journal of South Asian Studies
ISSN: 2307-4000 (Online), 2308-7846 (Print)
© ESci Journals Publishing. All Rights Reserved.