China and the Maldives have upgraded their relationship during newly elected President Mohamed Muizzu’s first state visit to Beijing, following a campaign in which he cast China’s regional rival India as a threat to its sovereignty.
Muizzu’s office said on Thursday that the Maldives signed several new agreements with China – its largest external creditor – on Wednesday, including ones on climate, agriculture and infrastructure. No details about the value of the deals were shared by either side.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, speaking at the Great Hall of the People, called Muizzu an old friend as the Asian giant set the stage for further investment in the Indian Ocean archipelago by agreeing to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
In talks with Xi, Muizzu “expressed gratitude for China’s significant role in the Maldives’ economic success and infrastructure development while Xi told Muizzu under the new circumstances, China-Maldives relations face a historic opportunity to build on past achievements and forge ahead.