Mal­dives will be prag­matic in seek­ing trade ties with China: ex­pert

Global Times US Edition - - BIZOVE -

For the good of its de­vel­op­ment, the Mal­dives’ new govern­ment will be prag­matic and make the right choice of seek­ing for a closer free trade re­la­tion­ship with China, ex­pert said on Tues­day.

The com­ment was made af­ter a Reuters re­port said that the Mal­dives’ new govern­ment will pull out of a free trade agree­ment (FTA) with China.

“The free trade agree­ment is mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial, and it was based on friendly and equal con­sul­ta­tions. We be­lieve the Mal­dives will make the cor­rect choice,” Geng Shuang, For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son, told a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day.

The FTA was signed by for- mer Pres­i­dent Ab­dul­lah Yameen of the Mal­dives dur­ing a visit to Beijing in De­cem­ber 2017.

Long Xingchun, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at China West Nor­mal Univer­sity, told the Global Times on Tues­day that it’s com­mon that the Mal­dives will change its for­eign pol­icy when a lead­er­ship tran­si­tion oc­curs. How­ever, the new govern­ment will main­tain the re­la­tion­ship with China for the good of its eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, since it needs China in terms of com­mod­ity trade and build­ing of new in­fra­struc­ture.

The China-Mal­dives Friend­ship Bridge, which was built and largely funded by China, is the lat­est ex­am­ple of the two coun­tries’ com­mit­ment to fur­ther strength­en­ing bi­lat­eral ties and co­op­er­a­tion and set­ting a global ex­am­ple of how coun­tries of dif­fer­ent sizes should treat each other with re­spect.

Long fur­ther noted that in terms of bi­lat­eral trade, China and the Mal­dives have quite com­ple­men­tary struc­tures. China mainly ex­ports goods that the is­land na­tion can barely pro­duce on its own, and China is the largest source of tourists to the Mal­dives ev­ery year.

“The trade im­bal­ance be­tween China and the Mal­dives is so huge that no­body would think of an FTA be­tween such par­ties, China is not buy­ing any­thing from us. It is a one-way treaty,” Reuters re­ported, cit­ing Mo­hamed Nasheed, the chief of Mal­di­vian Demo­cratic Party.

“Over­all, the two have an equal and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship, and there is noth­ing un­fair in this re­la­tion­ship,” Long said.

Be­cause the Mal­dives is lo­cated in the In­dian Ocean, “it’s un­der­stand­able that the new govern­ment will try to main­tain a good re­la­tion­ship with In­dia, but that won’t be a rea­son to hin­der its re­la­tion­ship with China,” Long said.

China will con­tinue to deepen prag­matic co­op­er­a­tion with the Mal­dives, and will firmly main­tain pos­i­tive bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, Geng said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.