Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Liu Zhenmin has today paid a courtesy call on President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The meeting was held this morning at the President’s Office.
At the meeting, President Yameen and China’s Vice Foreign Minister discussed the close bilateral relations that exist between the two countries. They further explored possibilities of strengthening these ties, especially in the social and economic sectors.
The President highlighted that 40 years of strong diplomatic relations had resulted in unprecedented close cooperation and benefits for the peoples. He expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government for their contribution to the development of Maldives, especially the assistance in housing.
Speaking on the mutual respect accorded to each other, President Yameen said that the Maldives cherished the Chinese government’s confidence in Maldives in its capacity to resolve domestic issues.
At the meeting, the Chinese Vice Minister congratulated the President on his election and the successful transition of government in November 2013. He conveyed to the President, the Chinese government’s commitment to strengthen the Sino-Maldives relations in the future.
The Chinese Vice Minister underlined the areas in which both countries could extend cooperation. He especially focused on strengthening ties in the fields of tourism and hospitality, economics and trade, and infrastructure development.
In this regard, the President and the Chinese Vice Minister exchanged views on ways to increase and maintain the Maldives as a preferred tourism destination in China. They emphasized the steady increase in Chinese arrivals and noted that China is today the number one tourism market for the Maldives by arrival numbers. The Chinese Vice Minister also noted China’s interest in assisting with capacity building in the Maldivian tourism sector.
Further, the Chinese Vice Minister briefed the President on China’s propositions on contributing to the preservation of and research in the Maldives’ marine ecology. He reassured that the Chinese government would continue to encourage Chinese companies to take on mega infrastructure projects in the Maldives.
At the meeting, Vice Minister Zhenmin guaranteed the Maldives’ government that China will continue to support the Maldives in the international area. He expressed gratitude to the Maldives for its reciprocal support.
The Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs also reiterated the invitation for President Yameen and senior officials to visit China at earliest mutual convenience.
President Yameen thanked Vice Minister Zhenmin for the invitation, and noted the importance of building people to people relations between Maldives and China.
Welcoming China’s suggestions for further cooperation between the two countries, President Yameen thanked the Chinese government for their willingness and enthusiasm to build on existing strong ties. The President also assured of Maldives’ commitment to maintaining Sino-Maldives relations.
Speaking of his administration’s ambitions for the year 2014, President Yameen shared with the Vice Minister the plans to establish industrial zones. In this regard, the President underscored plans to turn Hulhumale’ into a youth city, as part of his manifesto. He said that, to accomplish this, the government aims to construct a bridge between Male’ and Hulhumale’.
The President also welcomed Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in the Maldives’ tourism sector. He noted that China had always been a very strong development partner of the Maldives. The President thanked China for its support and assistance to the Maldives, and expressed confidence that the diplomatic relations would continue to grow from strength to strength.
The Vice Foreign Minister of China was joined at the call by the Ambassador of China to Maldives Mr. Wang Fukang, Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Huang Xilian, Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Liu Qiang, and senior officials at the Chinese Embassy.
President Yameen was joined at the call by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Dunya Maumoon, Minister at the President’s Office, Hon. Mohamed Hussain Shareef, Foreign Secretary, Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed and Acting High Commissioner of the Maldives to the United Kingdom, Mr. Mohamed Shiaan.