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Chinese Ambassador fires back at Nasheed's remarks

Shahudha Mohamed
14 December 2019, MVT 17:58
The Ambassador of China Zhang Lizhong Presents his credentials to the President. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Shahudha Mohamed
14 December 2019, MVT 17:58

Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Zhang Lizhong, on Friday, responded to Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed's allegations against the Chinese government.

During an interview given to India's 'Lok Sabha TV' on his current visit to the neighbouring country, Former President Nasheed heavily criticised China and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Nasheed stated that Yameen tried to strengthen Maldives-China relations but failed, subjecting the island nation into a debt trap that it can never recover from.

"Again, sensational but baseless remarks on China by some Maldivian politician!", the Chinese Ambassador tweeted in response.

"Does China grab Maldivian land? Absurd! China’s investment in Maldives is no different from any other country".

Part two of the five tweets by the ambassador, responding to Nasheed's remarks. PHOTO: TWITTER

Lizhong also advised Nasheed to "honour the agreements" regarding reconstructing the debt to China, adding that it is good to uphold the credibility of a sovereign country.

The Ambassador claimed "debt trap" was a fiction, clarifying that China is a contributor and not a trap maker and reminding that China is a development partner and the biggest tourist source market for Maldives.

In response to Nasheed's statement that the Free Trade Agreement between China and Maldives will not continue, Lizhong said he trusts the Maldivian Government to make a wise choice on an agreement already signed by the two governments after years of negotiations and consultations on equal footing.

Lizhong concluded the series of tweets, tagging Nasheed, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Minister of Foreign Affairs, calling for Maldivian politicians to "have an objective and responsible attitude on bilateral ties" and cherish the achievements of Maldives-China to keep the diplomatic relations on the correct track.

Part five of the five tweets by the ambassador, responding to Nasheed's remarks. PHOTO: TWITTER

In the interview given to the Indian news outlet, Nasheed scorned Yameen's foreign policy towards India, stating that Maldives must maintain close relations with India since many locals travel to the neighbouring country for education and medical purposes.

Noting that ease comes with strong bilateral ties with India, Nasheed declared that Maldives and China does not have such a friendship.

Nasheed alleged that Yameen tried to fund development projects with China's money, stating development was not reflected in building but in people.

In addition, Nasheed also alleged that China "bought" the then-Parliament and changed various laws.

Heated exchanges have taken place between the Ambassador and Nasheed in the past as well, where Lizhong accused Nasheed of relaying "unsubstantial information" and overstating Maldives' debt to China.

On various occasions, Nasheed has accused China of setting debt traps in an effort to gain control of the South East Asian region. Several experts in the region believe this to be true, although the Chinese government maintains deniability over the matter.

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