Ladies and gentlemen,
A very good morning to you all.
I am delighted to be here today, to represent the Maldives at the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation, organized by the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to CIDCA and to the Yunnan Provincial People’s Government, for the invitation extended to me to participate in this important event.
I represent the Maldives, a small but beautiful archipelagic nation in the middle of the vastness of the Indian Ocean.
Since its graduation from the list of LDCs in 2011, the Maldives has sought to strengthen its partnerships in the Indian Ocean and beyond, for the sake of peaceful co-existence and prosperity in the region.
We have favored dialogue and cooperation, peaceful co-existence, and close collaboration, both regionally and globally, to achieve our common goals. I am positive that we can renew our joint commitment to those noble objectives.
China has played a pivotal role in the Maldives’ progress in recent decades. We share a strong foundation, a shared commitment to a people-centric approach in our relations, aiming to advance social development, peace, and prosperity in our nations. Crucially, our relationship is rooted in the Maldives’ steadfast commitment to the One-China Principle.
Similarly, our collaboration with Yunnan Province extends beyond the geographical distance that separates us. It transcends mountains and seas, creating a close connection on vital matters of shared interests. I hope this friendship will continue in the years ahead.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we gather today, it is important to note that the new President of Maldives, His Excellency Dr Mohamed Muizzu assumed office on 17th of November 2023. The President and the government is committed to strengthen the ties with China that have been longstanding and built upon the foundation of mutual respect and shared goals.
We are eager to explore novel avenues of collaboration and cooperation with China, fostering a dynamic partnership that brings tangible benefits to both our nations.
Together, we can chart a course towards enhanced economic and cultural exchanges, contributing to the prosperity and well-being of our peoples.
Cooperation in the Indian Ocean must be inclusive, without discrimination and must include all countries in the region. Inclusivity would alleviate factionalism and contribute to the development and cooperation of our ocean communities in this region, which has historically been peaceful.
As a small island, our territory comprises of ninety-nine percent water and only one percent land. We understand the severe impact of marine disasters, climate change, global warming, and coastal erosion.
These are linked to the livelihood of the Maldivian people. We are a country dependent on marine resources and blue economy; tourism and fisheries, that necessitates a healthy ocean. Yes, we are vulnerable but we are also resilient.
That is why the Maldives is committed to sustainable development. We are committed to taking concrete action, explore innovative approaches towards marine protection, that benefit our communities and environment.
I am confident that the forum will provide a valuable platform to exchange ideas, strengthen partnerships, and collectively shape the future of the region. Through open dialogue and collaboration, we can build a more secure and sustainable environment for our people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I had the pleasure of meeting Her Excellency Shen Yiqin, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and State Councillor, who attended the inauguration of President Dr Mohamed Muizzu last month. Such visits stand as a testament to the depth of appreciation the Chinese Government holds for its strong relations with the Maldives.
The transformative impact of projects like the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge and various housing initiatives is evident, bringing positive change to the lives of Maldivian people. These endeavors emphasize that nations, regardless of size, can forge meaningful cooperation in pursuit of shared goals and interests.
The Maldives stands ready to forge stronger bonds, share expertise, and work hand in hand towards a resilient and prosperous Indian Ocean Region.
Before concluding, I would like to, once again, extend my appreciation to the Yunnan Provincial People's Government for the excellent hospitality, and arrangements in hosting this important forum.
I thank you all!