Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for Maldives involvement in 21st century maritime silk road

President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jingping has called on the Maldives “to get actively involved” in the creation of a 21st century maritime silk road linking China to the east coast of Africa and the Mediterranean.

In an op-ed published in Sun Online ahead of an official state visit, Xi said Maldives’ strategic location in the Indian Ocean had made it an important stop in the ancient maritime Silk Road.

“China welcomes Maldives to get actively involved in building the 21st century maritime Silk Road by leveraging its own strength. China looks forward to working with Maldives to speedily translate this cooperation initiative into reality so as to boost the development and prosperity of all countries and the rise of Asia.”

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, the Maritime Silk Road and a separate overland Silk Road will bring “new opportunities and a new future to China and every country along the road that is seeking to develop.”

China envisions a trade network where “goods are more abundant and trade is more high-end,” said Xinhua.

Xi is scheduled to arrive in the Maldives at 5:30pm today along with a 200 strong delegation that includes representatives from major Chinese companies.

The visit marks the first ever trip to the country by a Chinese head of state, and is part of an Asia tour that began with a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Tajikistan. After his two-day visit to the Maldives, Xi will also visit Sri Lanka and India.

New Heights

In his op-ed, Xi said China and the Maldives should strengthen political trust, intensify practical cooperation, boost cultural and people to people exchanges and enhance coordination on multilateral issues.

He noted two-way trade between the two countries, particularly in tourism, has been growing in recent years. Chinese holiday-makers now make up nearly one third of all visitors to the Maldives.

“China has been the largest source of tourists for Maldives for four years running. To the Chinese, especially the young people, Maldives is an ideal holiday destination and a romantic retreat.”

He encouraged more Maldivians to visit China for sightseeing and studying, and said the two governments should facilitate travel exchanges and more air routes.

“With these efforts, we will feel close even when we are thousands of miles away from each other.”

Appreciating the Maldivian government’s commitment to the one China policy, Xi said China “will, as always, respect the choice of the political system and development path made by the Maldivian people in light of your national conditions.”

China will pursue close cooperation with the Maldives on climate change and human rights, Xi said.

“The ship of China-Maldives friendship has set sail. I am confident that with our joint efforts, it will brave winds and waves and forge ahead toward an even brighter future.”

According to the Maldives President’s Office, China and the Maldives will sign a number of bilateral agreements on advancing developmental cooperation in various fields, and Xi and President Abdulla Yameen will launch two development projects funded by the Chinese government and implemented by Chinese corporations.

Minivan News understands the two projects include a bridge connecting the capital Malé and suburb Hulhumalé and the development of a new runway at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.

China’s rising economic presence in the Indian Ocean region has stoked concerns in New Delhi that China is creating a “string of pearls” that surrounds India and threatens its security, including Chinese investments in ports and other key projects in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

When asked if closer ties with China would adversely impact relations with India or Japan, President Yameen last week said Sino-Maldives economic cooperation would not affect “the very friendly, close relations with India”.

“All these projects are also open to India and we are doing a lot of diplomatic work with India,” he said, referring to his administration’s decision not to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States as an example of cooperation.


10 thoughts on “Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for Maldives involvement in 21st century maritime silk road”

  1. We shall also work with Chinese Muslim brothers and help spread true Islam in China! China has many problems that can be solve with Islam & cultural exchange can facilitate this.

  2. we together with China will ensure that we have a strong economy and silk route is successful project.

  3. @ Kashim
    This constant droning on about Islam, Islam, Islam, Islam is getting a bit repetitive and boring. Have you considered your own Voice of Islam radio station? I am sure the Saudis will be glad to fund it.
    You are probably too dumb to know that the Chinese have no time for muslim fanatics (your mates) and ruthlessly suppresses its muslim Uighur people.

    Why aren't you on jihad in Iraq?

    As far as the maritime Silk Road Project is concerned, shouldn't the Chinese concentrate on progressive states with growing economies instead of small, insignificant, politically unstable and bankrupt countries that will jeopardize the whole project?

  4. There is no sense in investing in the Maldives as part of the maritime silk road as the main infrastructure of concern for a maritime silk road is a port. Having a port in the Maldives, where nothing is manufactured, is not a feasible proposition because ships will only act as transhipment, nothing will be loaded, only a few good will be offloaded, which makes this a very unattractive prospects for the big shipping liners in the world, who dominate the decisions of where to port their vessels.

    Ports have been developed in and around the Maldives. On both, west and east side of India, recently, big investment in Sri lanka hambantota. The Maldives despite being in a very strategic location has ""missed the boat" on developing its own port to at least have a faint shot at the maritime action in this region.

    Xi's comments in the op-ed is clear, leverage your own strength and show me if you can be part of this. But there is no economic and business sense in the Maldives pursuing a vision of being a maritime player in this region as such outlined in the iHaven project for the North by this government.

    Rather, Maldives will be better off signing an MOU with Chinese government, get them to pay for the feasibility study, compile a decent enough bid document and hope and pray for some funding or investor to come through to develop a multi-million dollar bridge for a unimpressive volume transiting between Hulhumale' and Male'.

  5. I had a bat outlook on China, largely because they are labelled as the commies, but in truth I think China is as democratic as Maldives. haha which isn't saying much.

    China is definitely capitalist, evolving out of the communist mold of economics.

    China is authoritarian but nevertheless as meritocratic as U.S.

    The Chinese people despite living in an authoritarian country has more individual freedoms.

    Hail Maldives, the democracy.

  6. No thanks.

    We can be sure that its not silk that would flow... more like plastic from China and ebola, malaria and Nigerian drug mules from Africa.

  7. Keep dreaming kashim,Chinese treats islamic extremists in the manner they deserve,eg xingjiang, now that something the western world can learn from,China and Russia zero tolerance to Islamic extremism

  8. Kashim will be the first to go to their forced labor camps if the Chinese have their way here.

    I'm sure Yaagundaa will agree - you so-called dheenee baigandu lost your use to the regime the moment the SEZ bill was signed.

  9. India and allies just can’t just bear this relationship happening because Indian Embassy’s efforts of robbing Ibrahim Nasir International Airport using GMR as tool failed because of their greedy and colonial approach. MALDIVIANS are a proud people and will never accept to be subservient to India. Over my dead body to the say the least.

    Thanks President Xi of China for accepting invitation from President Yameen and visiting the Maldives; now seeing and feeling the Maldives in real. A greedy Indian Head of State would try to somehow bully Maldivians into a tricky loan situation or force an Indian multinational like TATA or a GMR to colonize the Maldives and create a situation dependency to Indian will. Once they are in, it will be a difficult situation to get the stinker out.


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