Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu is set to visit China today.
President Muizzu will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as other government officials to discuss politics, the economy, culture and green development.
Muizzu won a close presidential runoff election in September against incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who strengthened relations with India while distancing the Maldives from a close relationship with China.
The four-day visit, which is Muizzu’s first state visit to a foreign country in the new year, breaks a long-standing tradition in which Maldivian leaders visit India before China each year, and comes after Muizzu announced the withdrawal of 75 Indian military personnel from the island nation and a re-evaluation of over 100 bilateral agreements between India and the Maldives.
Expect this visit to be an early signifier of closer relations between China and the Maldives. The visit will likely spur announcements of new Chinese development projects on the island nation in the short term, as well as expanded economic partnerships between the two powers. Muizzu will likely avoid the topic of military cooperation, as the Maldives relies heavily on financial support for defense projects from India. This visit is a microcosm of a continuing spar between India and China for influence in an ever-shifting region.
Colin serves on the current developments team as a research analyst. He has previously published research on China and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Contributing regularly to the Daily Brief, Colin's areas of focus include China, climate change, and ASEAN.