In a defining statement today, President Dr. Mohammed Muizzu, upon his return from a state visit to China, emphatically stated that the Maldives is not in "any one particular country’s backyard," underlining the country's sovereign status and the long-standing relationship with China.
President Muizzu, addressing the press at Velana International Airport, highlighted the centuries-old ties between the Maldives and China, which are rooted in mutual respect and sovereign equality. Despite the stark contrast in geographical size, with the Maldives being considerably smaller, both nations regard each other as equals, which is a testament to their mutual understanding and respect for sovereignty.
The Maldives and China adhere to four main principles in their bilateral relations:
Mutual Respect: Both countries maintain a relationship of mutual respect, acknowledging the importance of each nation's customs, beliefs, and international stances.
Sovereign Equality: Emphasizing the principle of sovereign equality, the President noted that the two countries view each other as equals on the international stage, regardless of their size difference.
Territorial Integrity: The Maldives strongly supports the 'One China' policy, while China reciprocates with unwavering support for the Maldives' territorial integrity. President Muizzu pointed out that the Maldives, while small in land area, commands a significant portion of the Indian Ocean with its extensive exclusive economic zone.
Non-Interference in Domestic Affairs: The President underscored the importance of non-interference in the internal matters of the country. Without naming any country, he alluded to past instances where foreign powers interfered in Maldivian affairs, a veiled reference understood to be towards India. He affirmed that such interference is unwelcome and that the Maldivian people do not desire it.
President Muizzu went on to elaborate that the Indian Ocean does not belong to any single nation but to all countries bordering it. He asserted that the Maldives is a sovereign independent nation, not just geographically, but also in spirit and international relations. China's respect for the Maldives' territorial integrity is a cornerstone of their bilateral relationship.
The President's statement was a clear declaration of the Maldives' foreign policy stance, which is based on the principles of respect, equality, and mutual benefit. It signals the nation's intent to establish and maintain relationships with other countries on the same footing, fostering an environment of mutual respect and cooperation in the region and beyond.