Vice President H.E. Hussain Mohamed Latheef stated on Friday that the Maldives stands ready to forge stronger bonds, share expertise, and work hand in hand towards a resilient and prosperous Indian Ocean Region. He made these remarks at the opening of the ‘China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation'. This is the second edition of the high-level official development cooperation forum, a joint venture between China and the countries of the Indian Ocean Region.

Speaking at the forum, the Vice President emphasised that since it graduated from the list of LDCs in 2011, the Maldives has sought to strengthen its partnerships in the Indian Ocean and beyond to contribute to peaceful co-existence and prosperity in the region. He added that the Maldives has continuously favoured dialogue, cooperation, peaceful coexistence, and close collaboration regionally and globally to achieve common goals.

The Vice President further stated that China has been crucial to the Maldives' recent development and highlighted the two countries' solid shared commitment to a people-centric strategy, aiming to promote social development, peace, and prosperity.

He added that the recently inaugurated President of the Maldives, H.E. Dr Mohamed Muizzu, and his administration are dedicated to fortifying the long-standing relations between China and the Maldives, built upon the foundation of mutual respect and shared goals. He expressed eagerness to explore novel avenues of collaboration and cooperation with China, fostering a dynamic partnership bringing tangible benefits to both nations.

Shedding light on the Maldives being ninety-nine per cent water and only one per cent land, the Vice President underscored that the Maldives understands the severe impact of marine disasters, climate change, global warming, and coastal erosion. He stated 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. The Vice President noted that despite being vulnerable, the Maldives is resilient, hence remaining committed to sustainable development. He added that the Maldives is committed to taking concrete action and exploring innovative approaches towards marine protection benefiting the communities and environment.

Concluding his remarks, the Vice President stated that he was confident that the forum would provide a valuable platform to exchange ideas, strengthen partnerships, and collectively shape the future of the region.