by Special Correspondent
Maldivian authorities have granted permission for the Chinese scientific research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 3 to dock in the Maldives at the end of this month, according to reliable sources. This decision comes despite sustained pressure from the Indian government and concerns raised by various quarters labeling the vessel as a “Spy Vessel.”
Sources within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Maldives revealed that there is no objection to mooring Chinese ships in Maldives waters. President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, who assumed office recently, reportedly decided to grant permission for the Chinese research vessel, dismissing allegations that it could be involved in espionage activities.
The Xiang Yang Hong 3 was originally scheduled to conduct “deep water exploration” in the south Indian Ocean starting January. The vessel had also requested permission to dock in Colombo, Sri Lanka, but reports suggest that Sri Lanka denied the request.
Simultaneously, President Muizzu has announced an official visit to China later this month, further emphasizing the strengthening ties between the Maldives and China. However, the details of the visit have not been disclosed by the government.
This move follows Vice President Hussain Mohamed Latheef’s official visit to China in December, where he participated in the ‘China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation’ organized by the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).
The current administration in the Maldives has been characterized by its close relationship with China. President Muizzu has been labelled ‘pro-China’ by foreign media outlets, a designation he has rejected, emphasizing that his stance is ‘pro-Maldives.’