China ‘willing to deepen’ cooperation with Maldives
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.