China opened a full diplomatic mission in the Maldives on Tuesday, ahead of the Saarc summit. Beijing established the embassy in the capital Male as seven South Asian leaders were due in the Maldives.
“They (the Chinese) wanted to open the embassy before the summit,” Maldivian foreign secretary Ahmed Naseer said. Another official said the opening of the mission was a reciprocal move after Male opened an embassy in Beijing in 2007.
India has a large mission in the Maldives and its south Asian neighbours also maintain a presence in the country of 330,000 Sunni Muslims.
The US, among other non-South Asian countries, have also sent officials as observers to the summit.