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THE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & LifestyleTHE BIZNOB – Global Business & Financial News – A Business Journal – Focus On Business Leaders, Technology – Enterpeneurship – Finance – Economy – Politics & Lifestyle

Politics

Politics

Maldives upgrades ties with China amid pivot from India

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 10, 2024. cnsphoto via REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu attend a welcome ceremony at the... Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 10, 2024. cnsphoto via REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 10, 2024. cnsphoto via REUTERS
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu attend a welcome ceremony at the... Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 10, 2024. cnsphoto via REUTERS

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The Maldives upgraded ties with China amid a pivot from India. Following a campaign in which he painted China’s regional rival India as a danger to sovereignty, newly elected President Mohamed Muizzu of the Maldives boosted ties with China on Wednesday on his first state visit to Beijing.

Speaking at the Great Hall of the People, Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to Muizzu as “an old friend” as the Asian behemoth agreed to a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership,” opening the door for more investment in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Xi told Muizzu, “China and the Maldives’ relations are facing a historic opportunity to carry forward the past and forge ahead into the future,” according to Chinese official media.

After winning on his “India Out” platform, whereby he described New Delhi’s enormous influence as a danger to sovereignty, Muizzu assumed office in November. Despite being deeply indebted to Beijing, his administration has recently requested hundreds of Indian military troops stationed locally to leave while promoting opportunities for Chinese businesses.

Following a military skirmish in the western Himalayas in June 2020 that claimed the lives of 20 Indian and 4 Chinese soldiers, ties between the two countries plummeted.

China is paving the way for more investment in a region where India has already witnessed another neighbor, Sri Lanka, move closer to China by strengthening its relations with the Maldives.

Following the meeting, his presidential office said that “20 key agreements between the two countries” had been signed. “During the talks, President Dr. Muizzu expressed gratitude for China’s significant role in the Maldives’ economic success and infrastructure development,” the statement said.

According to World Bank data, the Maldives owes China $1.37 billion, or around 20% of its public debt, which puts Beijing ahead of Saudi Arabia and India, which owe $124 million and $123 million, respectively, as its largest bilateral creditors.

According to statistics from the American Enterprise Institute think tank, since the Maldives decided to join the Belt and Road Initiative in 2014, Chinese companies have made additional investments in the country totaling $1.37 billion.

According to official media, Xi stated, “China firmly supports the Maldives in safeguarding its national sovereignty, independence, and national dignity.” Plus, according to Xinhua, Beijing would be open to “exchanging experience of state governance” with Male.

Before meeting with Xi, Muizzu was shown a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, via his presidential office account. The video showed him touring the Chinese Communist Party Museum in Beijing.

In an October development assessment on the Maldives, the World Bank cautioned that further cozying up to China may be problematic since there was a “lack of domestic investment opportunities” and a “build-up of sovereign exposure” during the epidemic.

Xi stated that he supported more direct flights between the two nations, which might benefit the Maldives’ travel and tourist industry, which the Asian Development Bank estimates would account for 79% of the country’s economic development in 2022.


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