What are the Maldives’ diplomatic objectives regarding climate change?
The Maldives, along with others of its ilk, is facing the brunt of the damage caused by climate change. Sadly, the big industrialized countries are the ones causing this damage, so they should take responsibility for their actions, cut down on their carbon emissions and ensure support for small island countries. The Maldives has a strong lobbying voice as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States. We intend to make our voice heard so we reach a legally binding “post-Kyoto” agreement for climate change in 2015, notably at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York and the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the year.
How has the Maldives evolved into a nation ripe for investment since Independence in 1965?
In 1965, the Maldives applied for membership of the UN. There was some concern about how such a small country could become a viable nation state. I think we managed to show the world that a small country cannot only be viable, but be very successful in terms of its own development, its advocacy and lobby work. In 50 years, we have demonstrated to the world a small and young country can develop and come to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with much bigger countries.
How is the Maldives rekindling bilateral relations with China?
The Maldives and China have long historic ties based on mutual respect and tolerance. The relationship continues to grow stronger, following official high-level visits last year with President Abdulla Yameen’s trip to China and President Xi Jinping´s visit to the Maldives. By being a part of the Maritime Silk Road (MSR), we have access to a lot of financing for our infrastructure projects. President Xi´s vision of the MSR is based on our history of trade between our two countries. It is a very important vision. The Maldives can benefit greatly from it.