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China's Xi touts 'maritime silk road' on South Asia tour

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves upon his arrival at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Hulhule on September 14, 2014, in the MaldivesMalé (Maldives) (AFP) – China’s President Xi Jinping enlisted the Maldives’ backing for a “21st century maritime silk road” on Monday as he began a tour of South Asia in the strategically located Indian Ocean island chain. The Maldives is best known for its tourist industry but also straddles major international shipping lanes, and Chinese investment there has grown significantly as Beijing seeks to secure vital trade routes. “(The) Maldives was an important stop of the ancient maritime silk road,” Xi wrote in an article published on the local Sun Online news portal late Sunday. “China welcomes (the) Maldives to get actively involved in building the 21st century maritime silk road by leveraging its own strength.”

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