The Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Maldives described the Government of Maldives’ decision to forgo the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum as unfortunate and regrettable.
A statement released by the Chinese Embassy, stated that the Chinese government extended invitation to the government of Maldives and some private individuals from the Maldives to attend The China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation under the theme of "Shared Development: Theory and Practice from the Perspective of the Blue Economy", held by China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) in joined collaboration with the People’s Government of Yunnan Province of China in Kunming, Yunnan Province on November 21, 2022.
The embassy stated that regrettably, the Maldivian Government officials did not take the opportunity to participate in it.
The Chinese Embassy stated that the former president, President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s participation in the forum as a renowned scholar who shared his insights on how the international community should work together to overcome common challenges as climate change and COVID-19, was highly appreciated.
The forum was part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to implement his Global Development Initiative, with the aim of facilitating the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The forum was attended by high-level representatives from 19 countries in the region and 3 international organizations.
While sources report that the Maldives refrained from attending the forum on the advice of the Indian government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a heaving press release clarifying that the attendance of President Waheed did not constitute official representation of Maldives at the forum.
Indian influence has dictated multiple aspects of the governing policies harbored by the President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration. Furthermore, countless numbers of Indian military personnel are active in the Maldives. Decisions concerning the diplomatic affairs of the Maldives are mostly made in collaboration or on the directive of the Indian Government.
Aside from the days of British colonization, the Maldives has never lost its autonomy to another country in this manner.