The Maldives is intensifying its relations with China, a move underscored by the ongoing visit of Sun Haiyan, the Vice Minister of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This visit highlights the strengthening ties between the two nations and the strategic prioritisation of these relations by President Mohamed Muizzu.

During her meeting with President Muizzu, Vice Minister Sun focused on expediting the implementation of agreements signed during Muizzu’s recent state visit to China. She expressed the eagerness of all relevant Chinese agencies to collaborate with their Maldivian counterparts under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to the President’s Office. She further articulated China’s interest in bolstering strategic bilateral relations and offering training opportunities for Maldivians in various fields.

President Muizzu reciprocated the sentiment, according to the statement by the President’s Office, expressing his gratitude to China for the training opportunities and other avenues of support for Maldivians. He also conveyed his eagerness to implement the agreements signed between the two countries.

The President and Vice Minister also reviewed the recent success of direct flights between the Maldives and China and discussed extending direct flights from several Chinese cities to the Maldives. They also deliberated on improving city-to-city connections to facilitate tourism and business relations.

The visit of Vice Minister Sun, which was at the invitation of Moosa Zameer, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, comes in the wake of the recent successful state visit to China by President Muizzu. During her visit, Vice Minister Sun will also attend a donation ceremony on 22 January 2024, hosted by Mahibadhoo Island Council, Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Wang Lixin, the Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, commented on Vice Minister Sun’s visit, stating, “I believe that the visit will help promote the friendly exchanges and cooperation between CPC and the parties in Maldives.”

However, this strengthening of ties with China comes amid deteriorating relations between the Maldives and India. President Muizzu’s recent foreign policy decisions indicate a preference for ties with China, and he has requested that India withdraw its troops stationed in the Maldives.