Infostani International- On Thursday, China committed to providing additional funding for infrastructure in the Maldives, following an enhancement of relations with the strategically located Indian Ocean archipelago.
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu Strengthens Ties with China Amid Regional Power Struggle
In September, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, who pledged to foster “strong ties” with China and remove Indian troops, won the election amid the Beijing and New Delhi power struggle. Muizzu recently initiated his inaugural state visit to China, the Maldives’ largest external creditor. A joint communique issued on Thursday outlined the “broad consensus” achieved by the two leaders, with China committing to support the Maldives in areas such as infrastructure, medical care, health care, livelihood improvement, new energy sources, agriculture, and marine environmental protection. Muizzu expressed gratitude for China’s “selfless assistance” in providing development funds to the Maldives.
During a meeting with President Xi Jinping, China announced the “elevation of bilateral ties,” and Xi emphasized the historic opportunity for China-Maldives relations to advance under new circumstances. Xi underscored China’s respect and support for the Maldives in exploring a development path tailored to its national conditions, firmly supporting the safeguarding of national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national dignity.
China’s Belt and Road Influence in the Maldives: Political Dynamics, Economic Impact, and Recent Agreements
Muizzu’s political party actively received funds from the Belt and Road infrastructure program, a key component of China’s efforts to expand global influence. Former President Abdulla Yameen, Muizzu’s mentor, heavily borrowed from Beijing for construction projects, leading to the Maldives owing 42% of its total external debts exceeding $3 billion to Beijing in 2021. China’s Exim Bank, a significant Belt and Road creditor, held 11% of that debt.
During the recent visit, the Maldives and China signed multiple agreements on climate, agriculture, and infrastructure, although specific details about the agreements’ value were not disclosed. Beyond its reputation as a luxurious holiday destination, the Maldives has evolved into a geopolitical hotspot.