China ‘will­ing to deepen’ co­op­er­a­tion with Mal­dives

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

China said Thurs­day it is will­ing to deepen mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion with the Mal­dives, af­ter Chi­nese Am­bas­sador Zhang Lizhong met Mal­dives pres­i­dent-elect Ibrahim Mo­hamed Solih.

“China is will­ing to work with the new Mal­dives gov­ern­ment to con­sol­i­date the tra­di­tional friend­ship be­tween the two coun­tries, deepen mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion and up­grade China-Mal­dives re­la­tions to new heights,” Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokesper­son Lu Kang said Thurs­day.

There has been spec­u­la­tion that Solih will change Mal­dives’ pol­icy to­ward China, rais­ing con­cerns that the Chi­nese projects in Mal­dives may be scrapped, but Lu said Solih has as­sured the con­tin­u­a­tion of the projects.

Solih told the Chi­nese am­bas­sador that the new Mal­dives gov­ern­ment will work to strengthen re­la­tions with China, abide by the co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment signed be­tween the two coun­tries and con­tinue to im­ple­ment ex­ist­ing co­op­er­a­tion projects, ac­cord­ing to Lu.

The two coun­tries will fur­ther dis­cuss co­op­er­a­tion in peo­ple’s liveli­hood, in­fra­struc­ture and tourism, Lu noted.

Solih won the election on Septem­ber 24 by a 16.8 per­cent­age mar­gin, with an 89.2 per­cent voter turnout, de­feat­ing in­cum­bent pres­i­dent Ab­dulla Yameen.

Yameen will con­tinue his pres­i­dency un­til Novem­ber 17, ac­cord­ing to Mal­dives con­sti­tu­tion.

China has part-funded and built an ex­ten­sion to the Mal­dives’ international air­port, as well as the new “China-Mal­dives Friend­ship Bridge” link­ing it to the cap­i­tal Male.

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