Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu recently held significant talks, culminating in the signing of 20 key agreements that span various areas of cooperation. The leaders announced the elevation of bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership, demonstrating the mutual commitment to enhancing diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Honored State Visit and Strategic Partnership
President Muizzu expressed his honor at paying his first state visit to China and becoming the first foreign head of state hosted by China in the year. Both leaders emphasized the importance of their bilateral relations, setting the stage for comprehensive collaboration.
Respect for National Development and Sovereignty
President Xi reiterated China’s respect and support for the Maldives in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions. China pledged firm support for the Maldives in safeguarding its national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national dignity.
Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership
The elevation of bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership marks a significant milestone in the diplomatic relationship between China and the Maldives, highlighting the depth and breadth of their collaboration.
Signing of 20 Key Agreements
Twenty key agreements were signed, encompassing various sectors such as tourism cooperation, disaster risk reduction, blue economy, and investments in the digital economy. The agreements also included a commitment from China to provide grant assistance to the Maldives, with specific details undisclosed.
Belt and Road Initiative and Infrastructure Projects
The agreements involved accelerating the formulation of the Cooperation Plan on the Belt and Road Initiative, social housing projects, fisheries products processing factories, and the re-development of Male’ and Villimale’ Roads Development Projects. These initiatives underscore China’s commitment to infrastructure development in the Maldives.
State Visit Ceremonies and Hospitality
President Muizzu and his wife were accorded a ceremonial red carpet welcome at the Great Hall of People, and President Xi hosted a state banquet in their honor. These gestures highlight the significance both nations attribute to fostering strong diplomatic ties.
Diplomatic Challenges with India
President Muizzu’s visit is overshadowed by a diplomatic row with India, stemming from derogatory remarks against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and allegations of anti-India sentiments during the 2023 presidential elections. The EU Election Observation Mission report casts a shadow over the legitimacy of Muizzu’s presidency.
China’s Support and Governance Exchange
Despite the diplomatic challenges, President Xi expressed China’s readiness to exchange governance experience with the Maldives. The leaders aimed to strengthen the synergy of development strategies and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
Appeal for Chinese Tourists and Economic Impact
Facing cancellations from Indian tourists due to the diplomatic row, President Muizzu appealed to China to intensify efforts to send more tourists to the Maldives. This appeal comes amid the economic repercussions of strained relations with India, which traditionally constitutes the largest number of visitors to the Maldives.
Economic and Trade Relations
The economic relationship between China and the Maldives has seen substantial growth, with bilateral trade totaling USD 451.29 million in 2022. China’s exports constituted the majority of this trade, demonstrating the economic importance of the partnership.
Investment Opportunities and Maldives Investment Forum
President Muizzu sought investments from Chinese companies for 11 projects at the Maldives Investment Forum, showcasing the Maldives as an attractive destination for foreign investment.
Important Questions Related to Exams
1. How many key agreements were signed between China and the Maldives during the talks?
2. Which sector is NOT mentioned among the agreements signed between the two countries?
A) Tourism cooperation
B) Disaster risk reduction
C) Space exploration
3. Which country traditionally constitutes the largest number of visitors to the Maldives, and is currently facing cancellations due to diplomatic tensions?
Kindly share your responses in the comment section.