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China president's special representative to attend Solih's inauguration

Fathmath Shaahunaz
14 November 2018, MVT 13:23
Luo Shugang, China's Minster of Culture and Tourism.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
14 November 2018, MVT 13:23

China announced that its tourism minister Luo Shugang will attend the presidential inauguration of President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on behalf of China's President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese foreign ministry's spokesperson, Hua Chunying, stated on Tuesday that Shugang will arrive in Maldives on November 15 as a special representative of President Xi Jinping, and depart later on the 19th.

While it is believed that Shugang will call on top officials of the new government during his four-day stay and discuss bilateral relations, the Chinese government has not yet disclosed details of his visit.

Maldives had notably strengthened its ties with the Asian superpower during the tenure of outgoing President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Following his defeat in the Presidential Election held September 23, China had expressed concerns over the policy of President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration with regards to China.

The country had called on the president-elect against halting China's ongoing projects and investments in the Maldives, and expressed hopes that the future government will respect its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, as well as continue to back the latter's Belt and Road Initiative.

The Chinese government later confirmed in October that Solih had provided assurances of respecting Maldives' existing contracts with China, along with the completion of projects already underway in the archipelago.

Several top diplomats from Maldives' allies are expected to attend Solih's inauguration, most notably the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi. Solih's oath-taking ceremony will be held on November 17, at the National Stadium in capital Male'.

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