Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on September 25
Q: On September 24, the Maldives Election Commission announced the preliminary results of the presidential election. Maldivian joint opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the election with 58 percent of the vote. What is your comment? What are China’s expectations for the future development of China-Maldives ties?
A: The Chinese side congratulates the Maldives on the smooth holding of the presidential election and Mr. Solih on his election as the President. We respect the choice made by the people in the Maldives and hope that the Maldives can maintain stability and development.
China and the Maldives enjoy traditional friendship. In recent years, our bilateral relations have maintained a sound momentum of growth. Our two sides have conducted mutually beneficial cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, which has yielded fruitful outcomes. We are willing to work with the Maldives to continue to cement traditional friendship and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation so as to deliver benefits to our two countries and two peoples.
Q: The opposition party will just come to power in the Maldives, which has been critical of China. They have also slammed some of the investment by China. In fact, the free trade agreement which was signed between the Maldives under the Yameen government and China came under a lot of criticism from the opposition party. Is China concerned because there are reports that the opposition party coming to power may just lead to renegotiation of the free trade agreement?
A: With regard to the presidential election in the Maldives, I have elaborated on China’s position just now. We congratulate the Maldives on the smooth holding of the general election and Mr. Solih on his election as the President. We respect the choice made by the people in the Maldives and hope that the Maldives can maintain stability and development. Meanwhile, I also said that China is willing to continue to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with the Maldives so as to deliver benefits to our two countries and two peoples.
As to China’s projects and investment in the Maldives which you are interested in, the Chinese side always encourages Chinese enterprises to invest and start businesses in the Maldives in accordance with the market principles and play a positive role in promoting the Maldives’ socioeconomic development. We hope that the Maldives can maintain the consistency and stability of relevant policies and create a sound business environment for Chinese enterprises’ operations there.
Regarding the China-Maldives free trade agreement, our two countries inked the free trade agreement in December last year. The Chinese side is willing to work with the Maldives to implement this agreement and continuously expand bilateral trade and investment cooperation so as to deliver more benefits to our two countries and two peoples.