19 March 2017
Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is, however, unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy.
Big ticket investments and countering political violence dominated the headlines of the king’s tour of Asia, together with the extravagance of his travel – an entourage of at least 1,000, 459 tonnes of luggage, a golden electric elevator for the monarch to descend from his private plane, and a specially built toilet for his visit to a Jakarta mosque.
Yet, religion often was an elephant in the room on most stops on King Salman’s trip, which took him to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, China and Japan and was supposed to also include the Maldives.
… “It’s all sublime messaging and imaging. Jokowi played Salman beautifully. Masterful his use of Javanese culture. The Saudi’s just don’t know yet,” said Leonard Sebastian, a leading Indonesia expert at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 21/03/2017