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Maldives, China conform to ‘elevate’ strategic cooperation  

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The picture taken on January 10, 2024 exhibits Maldives’ President Mohamed Muizzu and Chinese President Xi Jinping posing for images with their wives throughout a welcome ceremony on the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
| Photo Credit: AFP

 Noting that the “strategic significance” of China-Maldives relations has turn out to be extra outstanding, the 2 international locations dedicated to better strategic cooperation this week, whereas China stated it “firmly opposes” exterior interference within the inner affairs of the Maldives, in keeping with a joint press communiqué. 

“The two sides agree to elevate China-Maldives relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, better leverage the political guidance of high-level engagement, expand practical cooperation between the two countries in various fields, strengthen collaboration on international and multilateral affairs, enhance the well-being of the two peoples, and work toward a China-Maldives community with a shared future,” stated the communiqué, issued on January 11, on the penultimate day of Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu’s five-day state go to to China. 

The transfer is amongst many initiatives the 2 international locations introduced, together with Maldives’s participation within the Global Security Initiative (GSI), following Sri Lanka’s affirmation in October 2023. The two governments agreed to attract up an “action plan” for constructing a “China-Maldives Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership from 2024 to 2028. 

The decisions assume greater significance, a month after the Muizzu government decided to skip the India-led Colombo Security Conclave’s NSA-level meet, held in Mauritius in December, while signalling clear shift in Malé, from the predecessor Solih government’s strategic policy of close defence and security cooperation with India and the US. 

President Muizzu’s visit coincides with a diplomatic row between Maldives and India, after three junior ministers in the Maldives posted controversial remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, referring to his recent trip to Lakshadweep. The social media posts sparked a strong backlash from Mr. Modi’s supporters in India, who launched a “Boycott Maldives” marketing campaign on-line, threatening to affect the Indian Ocean archipelago’s essential tourism sector. While President Muizzu has not commented on the tensions, the deputy ministers in his authorities have since been suspended. 

Maldives suspends three Deputy Ministers as India raises subject of disrespectful remarks towards PM

Meanwhile, the Maldivian President made a big pitch for the nation’s tourism trade in his ongoing go to, urging Chinese vacationers to reclaim their prime spot in arrivals, successfully changing Indian vacationers holding the place for the final two years. 

In his assembly with President Xi, the newly elected Maldivian chief hailed the BRI, and stated his nation appears ahead to increasing new channels of cooperation and promote high-quality partnership within the building of the Belt and Road, the state-run Xinhua information company reported. China stated it “respects and supports” the Maldives’s “exploration of a development path that suits its national conditions”, and “firmly opposes” exterior interference within the inner affairs of the Maldives, in keeping with the joint assertion. 

Two governments agreed to cooperate — the 2 leaders presided over the signing of 20 MoUs — in a number of areas together with blue economic system, digital economic system, infrastructure growth initiatives linked to the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI], catastrophe and threat mitigation, and information cooperation, by an MoU between the Public Service Media of the Maldives and the Xinhua information company of China. 

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