Your Excellency State Councilor Wang Yi,
Members of the media,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Maldives once again.
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Maldives and the People’s Republic of China, your visit, undoubtedly marks an important milestone in our longstanding bilateral relationship.
For the past five decades, China has been an important partner in the socio-economic development of the Maldives, contributing immensely towards social housing, capacity building, infrastructure development, and tourism.
I have no doubt that Maldives-China relations will rise to new heights under the able leadership of both President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and President Xi Jinping. Our relationship is firmly based on the principles of mutual respect and understanding between our two countries, and the Maldives’ unwavering commitment to the One-China Principle.
The State Councilor and I, just concluded our Official Talks, covering a range of topics in the bilateral and multilateral spheres. We agreed to explore new avenues of cooperation, and to enhance existing ones.
I thanked the State Councilor and the Chinese Government, for the generous assistance it had provided to the Maldives in the recent past, including the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the Housing Units in Hulhumale’, and the expansion of the Velana International Airport, to name a few.
I also thanked him for the kind assistance provided to the Maldives to combat the community spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the form of the 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines, and other medical equipment and supplies.
Both countries also signed key agreements during this visit, which will add further momentum to our dialogue and address the needs of both Maldivians and Chinese alike. The Visa Exemption Agreement that was signed today, will allow Maldivian travelers to visit China. Not considering the existing restrictions in place due to the pandemic, once the borders are re-opened, Maldivian nationals can travel to China on a 30-day visa free basis.
Additionally, both countries signed an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement on Grant Aid, totaling 400 million Yuan (approx. USD 63 million) to be used for social, livelihood, and infrastructure projects as agreed by both parties.
We also signed a Letter of Exchange to conduct a feasibility study for the management and maintenance of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, and a Supplementary Contract for the implementation of a Micro-grid Seawater Desalination Project in the Maldives, with the implementation contract being signed in August 2020 between the Maldives Ministry of National Planning and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
Finally, both countries signed an agreement to extend the services of a specialist Ophthalmic Center in the Maldives for a further two years. The original MOU for establishing this Center was signed in July 2019 between the Ministry of Health and the National Health Commission of China.
Since human resources and youth development is a key priority area for the Maldives, during my discussions with the State Councilor, I briefed him on the progress on the ongoing project for the development of the National Stadium in Hulhumale’, and its symbolism in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Maldives and China.
The State Councilor and I exchanged views on collaborating closely in the multilateral sphere where China has always been a reliable partner of the Maldives. We also discussed key international issues of mutual concern and decided to cooperate more closely at the United Nations, including on the issue of vaccine equity during this ongoing pandemic.
During this visit, I reiterated that the Maldives will endeavour to respect and uphold its relationship with China. In commemorating 50 years of diplomatic ties, we have reached a threshold of maturity and friendship in our bilateral relations, as evidenced by the intensity of our ongoing dialogue and people to people contact. In the years ahead, we are confident that our relations, and our cooperation in all areas, will be further strengthened and enhanced.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the State Councilor for undertaking an official visit to the Maldives despite his busy schedule, and for his commitment to further advance our bilateral relationship.
I wish him good health, and a safe voyage back home.
Long Live Maldives-China Friendship