Maldives, China sign 20 agreements after Muizzu

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday held in-depth talks with his Maldivian counterpart Mohamed Muizzu following which the two countries signed 20 “key” agreements, including one on tourism cooperation, and announced the elevation of their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
Mr. Muizzu said he was honoured to pay his first state visit to China and become the first foreign head of state that China has hosted this year, fully demonstrating the great importance both sides attach to the development of bilateral relations.

Mr. Xi stressed that China respects and supports the Maldives in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions. China also supports the Maldives firmly in safeguarding its national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national dignity, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Mr. Xi and Mr. Muizzu announced the elevation of bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership, it said.
20 key agreements were signed today between the Government of the Maldives and the Government of China this afternoon and both the Presidents witnessed the signing ceremony,” Maldivian President’s office said in a post on X.

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The agreements signed included tourism cooperation, disaster risk reduction, blue economy and strengthening investment in the digital economy. China will also provide grant assistance to the Maldives, but the amount was not disclosed.

The agreements also included jointly accelerating the formulation of the Cooperation Plan on the Belt and Road Initiative, social housing project on Fushidhiggaru Falhu, fisheries products processing factories and the re-development of Male’ and Villimale’ Roads Development Projects.

Mr. Muizzu and his wife Sajida Mohammad were given a ceremonial red carpet welcome at the Great Hall of People. President Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan later hosted a state banquet in their honour.

Maldives-India row
Mr. Muizzu’s visit to China is marred by the diplomatic row with India over derogatory remarks by his ministers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the release of a report by the EU Election Observation Mission of Maldives that said the ruling coalition of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC) deployed anti-India sentiments and attempted to spread disinformation in the 2023 presidential elections in which Mr. Muizzu won.

The EU report cast a shadow over Mr. Muizzu’s Presidential election last November as he contested as part of PPM headed at that time by former pro-China President Abdullah Yameen, who is currently serving a prison sentence for corruption.

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