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China, Maldives upgrade ties as presidents hold talks

BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu in Beijing on Wednesday.

The two heads of state announced the elevation of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Xi said that the people of the two countries established friendly ties through the ancient Maritime Silk Road, undertook productive cooperation in the construction of the Belt and Road and other areas in recent years, and set a good example of equality, mutual assistance and mutual benefit between countries big and small over the past 52 years of diplomatic ties.

“Under the new circumstances, China-Maldives relations face a historic opportunity to build on past achievements and forge ahead,” Xi said, noting that the elevation of ties is necessary alongside the growth of bilateral relations and meets the expectations of the two peoples.

Xi spoke about the hard work and valuable experience of the Communist Party of China over the last century. He stressed that China respects and supports the Maldives in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions, and supports the Maldives firmly in safeguarding its national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national dignity.

China stands ready to exchange governance experience with the Maldives, strengthen the synergy of development strategies, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and set a new benchmark for the China-Maldives friendship, Xi said.

He called on the two sides to strengthen cooperation in such areas as the economy, trade and investment, agricultural parks, and the blue, green and digital economies. He also called for expanded cooperation on marine ecological and environmental protection, as well as strengthened people-to-people exchanges. He said China will support more Maldivian students to study in China and promote more direct flights between the two countries.

Xi noted that the two sides should strengthen multilateral communication and coordination to safeguard genuine multilateralism and the common interests of developing countries, and build a community with a shared future for humanity to make the world more peaceful, secure and prosperous.

He said that China is willing to work with the Maldives to implement the consensus reached at the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, and to promote the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Muizzu said he was honored to pay his first state visit to China with a number of important cabinet ministers and become the first foreign head of state that China has hosted this year, fully demonstrating the great importance both sides attach to the development of bilateral relations.

Muizzu said the Maldives pursues the one-China policy firmly. Firm mutual support in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity is a solid foundation for the sustained and sound development of Maldives-China relations.

Noting that this year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi’s historic state visit to the Maldives, Muizzu said that China has provided a significant amount of valuable assistance to his country’s economic and social development. He said the Maldivian people have benefited greatly from the Belt and Road Initiative, citing the Maldives-China Friendship Bridge as a symbol of the bond between the two peoples.

During his visit to Fujian Province, Muizzu said he has witnessed China’s great achievements and experienced the excellent leadership of President Xi. He said the Maldives looks forward to taking the elevation of ties as an opportunity to expand new channels of cooperation and promote high-quality partnership in the construction of the Belt and Road, and that it welcomes more Chinese tourists to visit the country.

The Maldives supports the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, all of which were put forward by President Xi, and is willing to communicate and cooperate closely with China on international and regional affairs, Muizzu noted.

After their talks, the two heads of state witnessed the signature of an action plan to establish the China-Maldives comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, as well as cooperation documents on the construction of the Belt and Road, disaster management, the economy and technology, infrastructure, people’s livelihoods, green development, and the blue and digital economies. ■

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu in the Northern Hall of the Great Hall of the People prior to their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 10, 2024. Xi held talks with Muizzu, who is paying a state visit to China, in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu in the Northern Hall of the Great Hall of the People prior to their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 10, 2024. Xi held talks with Muizzu, who is paying a state visit to China, in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu in the Northern Hall of the Great Hall of the People prior to their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 10, 2024. Xi held talks with Muizzu, who is paying a state visit to China, in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan hold a welcoming ceremony for President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu and his wife Sajidha Mohamed in the Northern Hall of the Great Hall of the People prior to the talks between Xi and Muizzu in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 10, 2024. Xi held talks with Muizzu, who is paying a state visit to China, in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu, who is paying a state visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 10, 2024. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu witness the signature of bilateral cooperation documents after their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 10, 2024. Xi held talks with Muizzu, who is paying a state visit to China, in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Liu Bin)

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu witness the signature of bilateral cooperation documents after their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 10, 2024. Xi held talks with Muizzu, who is paying a state visit to China, in Beijing on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)