Diplomacy Politics

China hopes Maldives will back Belt and Road Initiative, FTA

China on Tuesday signalled its expectation that the newly elected government in the Maldives will continue to back the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as well as the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reached with the outgoing administration of Abdulla Yameen.

“China and Maldives enjoy traditional friendship and in recent years the two countries maintained sound momentum and conducted mutual beneficial cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road and achieved outstanding outcomes,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a response to a question.

He added: “We are willing to work with the Maldives to consolidate our traditional friendship and deepen our cooperation to the benefit of the people of both the nations.”

In its congratulatory message, the Foreign Ministry said it respected the choice of the people of Maldives and hoped that the country “can maintain stability and development”.

Opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was the surprise winner of the Maldives’ presidential election, defeating President Abdulla Yameen in Sunday’s poll.

In response to another question, Mr Geng hoped that the new government will respect the FTA signed between China and Maldives, during Mr Yameen’s tenure.

“As to the FTA signed between China and Maldives…we hope the Maldives will maintain consistency and stability of their policy and create an enabling environment for Chinese enterprises operating in the Maldives”.

The spokesperson pointed out that China and Maldives had signed an FTA last September. “China will work with the Maldives to ensure the sound implementation of FTA and expand trade and investment cooperation between both the sides for the greater benefit and development of people of both the nations,” Mr.Geng observed.

During Mr Yameens’s stay in office, China made substantial investments, which included an $830 million upgrade of Maldives’ airport. It also built a 2-km bridge linking the Velana International Airport on Hulhule island with capital Male. Besides, China is constructing a 25-storey apartment complex and hospital in the Maldives.

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Source URL: The Hindu

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