Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu Urges China to Send More Tourists

World Defense

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu Urges China to Send More Tourists

Defense News , China & Maldives :- In the aftermath of a diplomatic dispute that led to the cancellation of Indian tourist reservations in the Maldives due to derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Muizzu turned to the Maldives Business Forum in Fujian Province to strengthen ties with China. In his speech, he highlighted China as the island nation's "closest" ally, emphasizing the longstanding partnership between the two nations.

President Muizzu commended China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2014, stating that they had brought about the most significant infrastructure projects in Maldivian history. Despite acknowledging China as a crucial ally and development partner, he expressed concerns about the recent decline in Chinese tourism to the Maldives and urged for efforts to regain China's status as the primary tourist market.

During President Muizzu's visit, the two nations reportedly signed a USD 50 million project aimed at developing an integrated tourism zone in the Indian Ocean island. This appeal for increased Chinese tourists followed a diplomatic row initiated by derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi, resulting in the suspension of three deputy ministers and condemnation from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI).

The data released by the Maldives Tourism Ministry indicated that India remained the largest tourist market for the country in 2023, with China ranking third. President Muizzu expressed a commitment to diversifying the Maldives' economic base and ensuring economic security, outlining plans to offer new tourism experiences and initiatives, including a top-tier school of hospitality and exploration into sports, medical, and cultural tourism.

Being regarded as a pro-China politician, Muizzu emphasized his government's focus on implementing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with China. He described the FTA as a symbol of the close commercial ties between the two countries and stressed its importance in boosting bilateral trade and investments, especially in increasing the export of fish products to China. President Muizzu assured the swift implementation of the agreement, reinforcing his commitment to fostering strong economic relations between China and the Maldives.

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