Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Asim departed for China on Wednesday on his first official visit to the Asian superpower.
Minister Asim was welcomed at the airport in Chinese capital Beijing by the Maldives Ambassador to China Mohamed Faisal and top officials of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The minister also called on the officials of the Maldives Embassy in China during his visit.
In a statement released late Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry announced that Minister Asim who is on his first visit to China after assuming office last July 13 will pay visits to China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Minister Asim is also scheduled to meet and discuss matters with the heads of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which was founded under China’s Belt and Road initiative, and the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China.
Asim’s first official visit as the Maldives top diplomat was to South Asian neighbour and closest ally India, after which he has represented the Maldives at the United Nations General Assembly and other international gatherings. He is again scheduled to visit India in coming February.
This year also marks the 45th anniversary of Maldives-China diplomatic relations. The Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Wang Fukang had declared on Wednesday that the two countries will jointly celebrate the occasion.
The Maldives has been rapidly strengthening its relations with China ever since President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom came to power. While China is investing in almost all the major development programs launched by the government, the president has implied that the archipelago’s foreign affairs policy is also leaning towards China.