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Relationship between China and Maldives will continue to grow: Shahid

Lamya Abdulla
09 January 2022, MVT 13:47
Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid (L) and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at joint press event on Saturday, January 8, 2022: five agreements were signed between the two countries in the talks held between the two ministers prior to meeting with the press -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru
Lamya Abdulla
09 January 2022, MVT 13:47

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said on Saturday that he has full faith that the China-Maldives relations will rise to new heights under the leadership of Maldives’ President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and China’s President Xi Jinping.

Shahid made the remarks in the press statement given by Maldives and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi after the official talks held at the foreign ministry yesterday.

Joint press conference by Minister Abdulla Shahid and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday

Yi visited Maldives on Friday upon the invitation Shahid had extended when he was visiting China. Shahid who had been living in New York, United States after he took office as UNGA’s President in September of 2021, visited Maldives to welcome Yi.

“Our relationship is firmly based on the principles of mutual respect and understanding between our two countries, and the Maldives’ unwavering commitment to the One-China Principle,” Minister Shahid had said.

Noting that Maldives and China will be celebrating 50 years since diplomatic ties were established between the two countries in 2022, Shahid said that it marks an importance milestone in their bilateral relationship.

“For the past five decades, China has been an important partner in the socio-economic development of the Maldives, contributing immensely towards social housing, capacity building, infrastructure development, and tourism.”

Shahid said that relationship between Maldives and China will continue to grow.

“Our relationship is firmly based on the principles of mutual respect and understanding between our two countries, and the Maldives’ unwavering commitment to the One-China Principle.”

Wang Yi met President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as well yesterday.

China to donate USD 63 million to Maldives

In the talks held between the two foreign ministers, it was decided on Saturday that China would donate USD 62.8 million (MVR 960 million) to Maldives. According to the foreign ministry this money would be utilized for social and infrastructural developmental projects.

Minister Abdulla Shahid addressing the media in Foreign Ministry on Saturday, January 8, 2022 -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru

In addition to the gran aid, the Chinese government will be establishing micro grid seawater desalination plants in five islands as well. These projects will cost up to MVR 199 million.

Foreign Minister also said China agreed to undertake the maintenance of SinaMale' Bridge, built by China funds and loans as well.

VISA free travel for Maldivians to China

VISA Exemption Agreement was signed between the two countries as well. The new agreement states that Maldivians may enjoy up to 30 days of VISA free travel to China.

This agreement will go into affect once the borders are reopened though. China is currently exercising strict border control in its aim to achieve a Covid-free nation, especially since they are gearing up to host the Winter Olympics next month.

Both countries signed an agreement to extend the services of a specialist Ophthalmic Center in the Maldives for a further two years. The original MOU for establishing this Center was signed in July 2019 between the Ministry of Health and the National Health Commission of China.

Minister Wang Yi (L) and Minister Shahid at the joint press conference on Saturday -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru

China had extended aid to Maldives on multiple counts over the pandemic. In addition to the 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines which were used to inoculate Maldivians, China had donated large amounts of PPE and other medical supplies as well.

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