Malé City Mayor Mohamed Shihab has signed a “sister city agreement” with China’s Shenzhen City to enhance cooperation and strengthen ties.
In a press release today, the council said Shenzhen is one of China’s most developed cities and that the agreement will promote cultural and commercial ties between the two cities. It did not provide further details.
Malé City has previously signed a sister city agreement with Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City.
Former Mayor Ali Manik visited Kaohsiung in November 2012 after the city was assigned to mentor Male’ in sustainability by the international organisation of which both are members, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI).
But the government issued a statement denouncing Malé City Council’s decision to become sister cities with Kaosiung City, pledging the Maldives’ support for the “one-China policy”.
Links between the Maldives and China have grown rapidly in recent years, largely in step with the exponential growth of Chinese tourist arrivals which accounted for nearly 30 percent of visitors in 2013.