China, Maldives elevate ties as presidents hold talks

BEIJING : China and the Maldives elevated bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.


Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of the Republic of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu announced the decision during their talks in Beijing.


Muizzu is the first foreign leader invited to visit China this year.


Xi told Muizzu that China was willing to work with the Maldives to expand exchange and cooperation in various fields, and build a China-Maldives community with a shared future, CGTN reported.


“China is ready to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with the Maldives,” he said.


Both sides should strengthen cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, investment, agricultural park, green economy, digital economy and blue economy, he added, also calling for expanding cooperation in marine ecosystem protection.


Xi urged both sides to enhance people-to-people exchanges, saying that China supported more Maldivian students to study in China, as well as more direct flights between the two countries.


“China is willing to strengthen coordination with the Maldives, implement the consensus reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, and promote the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement,” he added.


For his part, Muizzu said the Maldives was firmly committed to the one-China policy.


“The Maldivian people have benefited greatly from the Maldives-China cooperation, especially the Belt and Road cooperation,” he noted.


Regarded as a landmark project of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, which connects the capital Male and the neighbouring island of Hulhumale, had become what Muizzu described as “a symbol of the friendship between the two peoples”.


“The Maldives expects to further expand new avenues of bilateral cooperation, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and bring more benefits for the two peoples,” Muizzu said, adding that he looked forward to seeing more Chinese tourists come to the Maldives.


After the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of an action plan for building the China-Maldives comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and a number of bilateral cooperation documents.