President Nasheed meets with Chinese President

As part of his official visit to China for the Shanghai World Expo 2010, President Mohamed Nasheed met with Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday at the International Convention Centre in Shanghai.

President Jintao said President Nasheed’s visit was a historic one and represented the importance of relations between China and the Maldives.

He thanked the government and people of the Maldives for their support of China and hoped to strengthen bilateral relations to benefit both countries. He said he hoped to increase mutual trust, economic and trade cooperation, and improve communication and coordination between the two governments.

President Jintao continued to say China would assist the Maldives in overcoming economic challenges, and pledged 50 million Chinese Yuan (US$7.3 million) in grant aid for the Maldives.

The Chinese president added climate change was an issue equally important to China as it is to the Maldives and assured support to the Maldives on the issue.

President Nasheed thanked the Chinese government and people for making an important contribution to the social and economic development of the Maldives.

He said the Maldives was facing many developmental challenges due to climate change, with fresh water and housing both in short supply.

President Nasheed encouraged Chinese companies working in renewable energy technologies to invest in the Maldives, thus improving their bid to become carbon-neutral by 2020 and creating an example on green technologies.

President Nasheed also briefed President Jintao on the recent sixteenth South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit that took place in Bhutan last week, as China is an observer country of the SAARC.