Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu recently visited China and signed 20 important agreements, including tourism cooperation, during his five-day state visit. This comes at a time when tension between India and the Maldives has risen due to derogatory remarks made against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Muizzu’s visit to China, a pro-China leader, aims to strengthen ties and attract more Chinese tourists to the Maldives. The agreements also include collaboration in areas such as disaster risk reduction, blue economy, and digital economy investment.
1. Background: India-Maldives Row and Muizzu’s Visit to China
Amid tensions with India over derogatory remarks made by Maldivian ministers against Prime Minister Modi, President Mohamed Muizzu embarked on a state visit to China. The visit aims to strengthen ties between the two countries and seek support from China in attracting tourists to the Maldives.
2. Agreements Signed and Bilateral Ties
During his visit, President Muizzu signed 20 key agreements with China, covering various sectors such as tourism cooperation, disaster risk reduction, and investment in the digital economy. The elevation of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership was also announced, highlighting the importance of the relationship between the two countries.
3. Focus on Tourism Cooperation
One of the key agreements signed between China and the Maldives is focused on tourism cooperation. The Maldives, known for its pristine beaches and luxury resorts, has been a popular tourist destination for Indians, Russians, and Chinese. By enhancing tourism cooperation, the Maldives aims to attract more Chinese tourists and regain its position as the number one market for tourism.
4. Importance of Chinese Market for the Maldives
Data released by the Maldives Tourism Ministry showed that India remained the largest tourist market for the country in 2023. However, China was the Maldives’ number one market pre-Covid. President Muizzu has expressed his desire to intensify efforts to regain China’s position as the top tourism market. The signing of agreements and the development of an integrated tourism zone on an Indian Ocean island further emphasize the importance of the Chinese market for the Maldives.
5. Future Meetings and Investments
President Muizzu is expected to meet Chinese Premier Li Qiang and other senior officials before returning to the Maldives. He has also sought investments from Chinese companies for 11 projects at the Maldives Investment Forum. These investments would contribute to the development of the Maldives’ infrastructure and economy.
What agreements were signed between China and the Maldives during President Muizzu’s visit?
- The agreements covered various sectors, including tourism cooperation, disaster risk reduction, blue economy, and investment in the digital economy.
Why is tourism cooperation a significant focus in the agreements?
- Tourism is a crucial sector for the Maldives, and the country aims to attract more Chinese tourists and regain its position as the top tourism market.
How important is the Chinese market for the Maldives?
- China was the Maldives’ number one tourism market pre-Covid. The Maldives seeks to intensify efforts to attract Chinese tourists and strengthen bilateral ties.
What is the current state of the India-Maldives relationship?
- Tensions have risen due to derogatory remarks made against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Maldivian ministers.
What other areas of collaboration were included in the agreements?
The agreements also covered disaster risk reduction, blue economy, and investment in the digital economy, among other sectors.