Bilateral trade between China and the Maldives reached US$64 million last year, on the back of a boom in Chinese tourist arrivals, up 56 percent on 2009, writes Liao Zhengjun for the Chinese newspaper The People’s Daily.
“China has actively encouraged successful domestic enterprises to participate in the Maldives’ infrastructure construction and other projects. With preferential loans from the Chinese government, a Chinese company is now busy constructing the 1,000 Housing Units Project in the Maldives, the largest economic and trade cooperation project since the two countries established diplomatic relations.
“The project is expected to greatly alleviate the overcrowding in Male, the capital of the Maldives. “A friend in need is a friend indeed,” and the two countries have stood by each other at all times and under all circumstances. China provided immediate assistance to the Maldives when it was hit by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, and the Maldives also offered a helping hand shortly after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.
As the cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two countries have been steadily expanding in recent years, tourism has become an emerging area for the bilateral cooperation. More and more Chinese people see the Maldives as a favorable tourist destination. According to statistics from the Maldives government, the Maldives received nearly 120,000 Chinese tourists in 2010, marking that China has become its largest source country of foreign tourists.”