BEIJING: Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, who arrived in China on his first state visit, Monday praised Beijing as a “valued ally and integral collaborator” of the Indian Ocean island nation and hailed the cooperation between the two countries. Muizzu’s maiden visit to China has been marred by a diplomatic row with India, triggered by the derogatory remarks against PM Narendra Modi by some Maldivian ministers.
Muizzu, who is regarded as “pro-China”, met provincial officials in Fujian on the first day of his five-day visit.
While China is yet to release his official itinerary, the foreign ministry in Beijing said earlier that he is due to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and sign several agreements. In his meeting with senior officials of the China Communications Construction Company Limited which has done projects in the Maldives, Muizzu “underscored the significance of China as a valued ally and an integral collaborator in the developmental journey of the Maldives”, a press release issued by his office in Male said. He expressed aspirations to enhance bilateral relations to new heights and enhance collaborative efforts in various areas of mutual interest, the readout said.
Later he met Zhou Zuyi, secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, Fujian Provincial Party unit.
Muizzu is due to hold talks with Chinese President Xi and sign several agreements to bolster the bilateral ties, according to the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin. “The relations between China and the Maldives now stand at a new historical starting point. We believe that through this visit, the two heads of state will provide strategic guidance for the bilateral relations to reach a new height,” Wang told the media on January 5.
The Maldivian President’s Office said that the Maldives and China will sign key agreements to enhance trade, professional development, and socioeconomic cooperation.

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