Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference on November 20, 2018
Q: The Maldives’s new government said that it will pull out of a free trade deal that it reached with China because some senior Maldivian politicians said that the deal is one-sided and China is not buying anything from the Maldives. I am wondering if you have any comment on this issue?
A: The Free Trade Agreement between China and the Maldives is based on equal-footed and friendly consultations. It is to seek mutual benefit and win-win results. The sooner it gets implemented, the sooner the two sides could reap the benefits. We believe the Maldivian government will make the right choice.
Q: The newly-elected President Solih of the Maldives has also said that the new government would like to review and audit many Chinese projects, in view of the financial situation and corruption issue it is facing. How does China view the situation in the Maldives after the change of government there? Previous President Mr. Abdulla Yameen is regarded as pro-China while new President Mr. Solih is closer to India.
A: I am not aware of the specific situation you mentioned.
According to my knowledge, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang not long ago attended the inauguration ceremony of President Solih and had a meeting with him. During the meeting, President Solih said that the new Maldivian government attaches importance to and is committed to developing its relations with China, and stands ready to deepen bilateral practical cooperation and substantiate bilateral relations. President Solih also said that China has offered the largest amount of economic and development assistance to the Maldives. The opening to traffic of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge has greatly improved the traveling conditions for local people, making the Maldivian side feel earnestly the benefits of bilateral cooperation. The Maldives welcomes more Chinese enterprises to invest in its country. All these facts reflect the status and significance of the China-Maldives practical cooperation.
As for the foreign policies practiced by Maldivian former President Yameen and new President Solih, you’d better ask the Maldivian side. China’s determination to deepen practical cooperation and maintain a sound development momentum of China-Maldives ties is consistent and clear.