The Presidents Office has announced China’s decision to lend 100 million Yuan (around MVR250 million or US$16 million) as free aid to the Maldives.
The agreement was signed yesterday (August 16), after President Abdullah Yameen departed on an official visit to China to attend the opening ceremony of the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, and to hold discussions with Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
In addition, an agreement was made to provide the Maldives Police Service with 150 motorcycles.
According to the statement, the grant aid is to be used for developmental projects in the Maldives.
At separate meetings held on Saturday afternoon, discussions were focused on the investment opportunities in Maldives, and the mega development projects proposed by the government.
Furthermore, Yameen met officials from Tuniu, one of China’s top travel agencies, and attended a lunch hosted by the group.
During the discussion on Saturday, Xi also conveyed his government’s commitment to propel bilateral relations with the Maldives onto a higher plane.
In addition, Yameen outlined the key developmental projects envisaged for commencement in the time ahead, and emphasised that no project is as important or pertinent as the Male-Hulhulé bridge.
Yameen expressed his satisfaction that the interest of corporate China towards the bridge project and other key economic manifesto projects. He went on to note that he desired in time, for the new bridge to be known as the “China Bridge” to symbolise the friendly ties between the two countries.
Xi thanked Yameen for briefing him on his economic agenda and assured that he would alert Chinese authorities to collaborate closely with the Maldives in ensuring the key development projects, including the bridge can be implemented with due urgency.
Yameen noted that the Maldives had always been a standing supporter of the one-China policy and the Five Principals of Peaceful Coexistence governing relations between states. He also commended President Xi on his 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
In return, Xi noted that the Maldives would feature among the countries that are included within the Silk Road sphere.
Referring to the Chinese ‘New Silk Road’ project, Yameen told reporters prior to the trip that the government was “very interested” in participating in the initiative.
Yameen also revealed that a number of bilateral agreements would be signed during the visit, including a framework agreement on trade assistance, while Chinese assistance in providing police vehicles would be “formalised”.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported yesterday that China’s maritime ‘Silk Route’ would pass through the Ihavandhippolhu Integrated Development Project – or ‘iHavan’ – in the northernmost atoll in the Maldives.
“The design of the project seeks to capitalise on the location of the atoll, which lies on the seven-degree channel through which the main East-West shipping routes connecting Southeast Asia and China to the Middle East and Europe,” reported Xinhua.