Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed said Friday that South Asian nations aren't in a hurry to grant full dialogue partner status to China, which is seeking increased influence in a region traditionally dominated by India.
China opened an embassy in the Maldives two days before this week's summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and had wanted to upgrade its current observer status in the eight-nation regional grouping.
"There was no hurry or further discussion to make China a dialogue partner other than an observer which China is," Nasheed said at the conclusion of SAARC's 17th summit. He is currently SAARC chairman.
India has expressed concern over China's efforts to expand its influence in the region.