VP: China crucial to Maldives’ recent development; two nations share people-centric strategy

Vice President Hussain Mohamed Latheef speaks at the opening of the ‘China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation' on December 8, 2023. (Photo/President's Office)

Vice President Hussain Mohamed Latheef, underscoring China has been crucial in Maldives' recent development, has said the two countries' solid shared commitment to a people-centric strategy, aimed to promote social development, peace, and prosperity.

He made the remark at the opening of the ‘China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation'; the second edition of the high-level official development cooperation forum, a joint venture between China and the countries of the Indian Ocean Region.

In his address, VP Latheef said the recently sworn-in Maldivian President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and his administration are dedicated to fortifying the long-standing relations between China and the Maldives – which he described was built upon the foundation of mutual respect and shared goals.

In this trajectory, he expressed eagerness to explore novel avenues of collaboration and cooperation with China, fostering a dynamic partnership bringing tangible benefits to both nations.

Speaking further, VP Latheef expressed Maldives’ readiness to forge stronger bonds, share expertise, and work hand in hand towards a resilient and prosperous Indian Ocean Region.

He added that the Maldives, since its graduation from the list of LDCs in 2011, has sought to strengthen its partnerships in the Indian Ocean and beyond to contribute to peaceful co-existence and prosperity in the region.

He remarked that Maldives has continuously favored dialogue, cooperation, peaceful coexistence, and close collaboration regionally and globally to achieve common goals.

Shedding light on the fact that Maldives is comprised of ninety-nine percent water and only one percent land = VP Latheef noted that the nation understood the severe impact of marine disasters, climate change, global warming, and coastal erosion. He added that these are related to the livelihood of the Maldivian people as the nation depends on marine resources and the blue economy, including the tourism and fisheries industries dependent on a healthy ocean. 

Nevertheless, the Vice President said Maldives, despite being vulnerable, is resilient, hence remaining committed to sustainable development and in this regard, is committed to taking concrete action and exploring innovative approaches towards marine protection benefiting the communities and environment.

Concluding his remarks, VP Latheef expressed confidence that the forum would provide a valuable platform to exchange ideas, strengthen partnerships, and collectively shape the future of the region.

His remarks on China and Maldives relations came at a time the Chinese government has pledged to increase development projects in the Maldives and direct flights to the island nation.