|Wang Yi and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid Jointly Meet the Press|
On January 8, 2022, local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid jointly met the press in Malé.
Wang Yi said, I'm pleased to meet again with my old friend Foreign Minister Shahid. Today we jointly launched the celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the Maldives and released the official logo for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. During this visit, the two sides also signed a series of cooperation agreements, including mutual visa exemption agreements. The visit achieved fruitful results, which is the best gift for commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Maldives diplomatic relations, and will surely promote the future-oriented comprehensive friendly partnership of cooperation between China and the Maldives in great strides.
Wang Yi said that China has always maintained that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, are equal. Whether in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami, or during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we have always stood together with the Maldivian people, supporting each other with mutual assistance and tiding over difficulties together. China has always supported the Maldives in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, following a development path suited to its national conditions, and pursuing an independent foreign policy. With 50 years' concerted efforts, China-Maldives relations have become a model of friendly exchange, mutual benefit and win-win results between countries.
Wang Yi stressed that as a comprehensive friendly partner of cooperation, China supports the Maldives in accelerating economic and social development and enhancing its capacity for independent development. This is China's original and consistent aspiration and down-to-earth action in conducting cooperation with the Maldives. We have promoted the renovation and expansion project of the Velana International Airport, enabling the Maldivian people to have a modern international airport; we have built the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, which has solved the travel difficulties confronting the Maldivian people for many years and has so far witnessed more than 100 million travels; we have built more than 10,000 residential units for the Maldives, helping tens of thousands of Maldivian families improve their living conditions; we have actively facilitated debt relief and suspension for the Maldives within the framework of the G20, accounting for three-quarters of that in the international community. During this visit, we also decided to carry out a new batch of assistance and cooperation projects with the Maldives to inject impetus into the economic revitalization of the Maldives. Facts have proved that the joint construction of the Maritime Silk Road by China and the Maldives serves the common interests of the two peoples. We are jointly embarking on a road towards hope, prosperity and happiness.
Wang Yi said, at the historical juncture of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, both China and the Maldives agreed that the two countries should maintain a longer-term perspective and broader vision to write a new chapter of mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation between the two countries. China will continue to cooperate with the Maldives in fighting the pandemic and work together to completely defeat the pandemic, accelerate cooperation on key projects to inject momentum into the recovery of key industries in the Maldives, and expand emerging fields of cooperation to help the Maldives in advancing its diversified development strategy. China hopes that the China-Maldives free trade agreement will be ratified and put into effect as soon as possible, so as to create favorable conditions for the Maldives' products and services to enter into the Chinese market.
Wang Yi said that China is willing to strengthen cooperation with the Maldives in addressing climate change and help small island countries tackle actual difficulties. The two sides should strengthen coordination in international affairs and jointly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core. China will support Foreign Minister Shahid in successfully performing his duties as the President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, so as to make greater contributions to promoting world peace and development.
Wang Yi stressed that future-orientation is the most distinctive feature of China-Maldives comprehensive friendly partnership of cooperation. China is willing to join hands with the Maldives to create a brighter future for China-Maldives relations.