Beijing/Male, Nov 18 (PTI) Chinese President Xi Jinping's Special Envoy Shen Yiqin, who attended the inauguration of the new Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu at Male, called on him on Saturday and expressed Beijing’s readiness to promote the Belt and Road Initiative projects and push for new progress in the bilateral ties.
During the meeting Shen, a State Councillor, said China attaches great importance to its relations with the Maldives and is willing to work with the country under the new circumstances to strengthen high-level political guidance, deepen synergy of their development strategies, and further expand cooperation and exchanges in various fields, state-run Xinhua news agency reported from Male.
China is also ready to promote high-quality Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation, and push for new progress in the future-oriented, all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between the two countries, she added.
Muizzu said the new government of the Maldives firmly upholds the one-China policy and actively seeks to strengthen practical cooperation with China in various fields, including jointly building the BRI.
The BRI is an ambitious plan initiated by President Xi in 2013 to develop new trade routes connecting China with the rest of the world via land and maritime networks with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.
Muizzu hoped to work hand in hand with China to usher in a new chapter in Maldives-China relations.
The election of Muizzu, seen as a close associate of former pro-China Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, raised expectations in Beijing that the archipelagic state strategically located in the Indian Ocean close to India’s southern coast will pursue pro-Beijing policies, unlike the incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who followed India first policy and established close ties with New Delhi.
In his message greeting Muizzu earlier, Xi said China and the Maldives enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges.
Xi – who visited Maldives in 2014 and announced several Chinese investments under China’s BRI, which subsequently evoked criticism of being “debt traps” by the country’s opposition parties – said the two countries are not only friends of sincere trust and mutual assistance but also partners of joint development and common prosperity.
After her Maldives visit, Shen will visit Sri Lanka from November 18 to 21 at the invitation of the Sri Lankan government, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced earlier. PTI KJV NPK NPK NPK