Earlier this month, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid an official visit to the Maldives at the invitation of the Maldivian government.

Described as a fruitful visit is of great significance to China-Maldives relations, here are the key achievements of the trip.

One Important Visit

The Maldives was an important stop on State Councilor Wang Yi’s first New Year trip, and it is an important visit at the beginning of the 50th anniversary of China-Maldives diplomatic relations and an important high-level visit from the Chinese side in recent years, which is of great significance for the future development of the bilateral relations.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yi meets with President Solih/ Photo: President's Office

During the visit, the two sides launched the celebration events commemorating the 50th anniversary of China-Maldives diplomatic relations by unveiling the official Logo. As State Councilor Wang Yi said at the joint press conference, his visit to the Maldives is fruitful, which is the best mark of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations and will advance the development of the future-oriented, all-round friendly, and cooperative partnership between China and the Maldives.

Two Major Goals

The two-day visit saw the two countries achieve two major goals. The first goal is to review and summarize the important achievements and experiences of their bilateral relations gained over the past 50 years. The second goal is to draw a blueprint for the future development of China-Maldives relations.

Chinese Foreign Minister stands with Maldivian Foreign Minister/ Photo: Chinese Embassy

Three vital Messages

Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit highlighted three key messages the Chinese government had hoped to convey to the Maldivian government and its people.

Firstly, China has always upheld that all nations, big and small, are equal, and China has always supported the Maldives in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, pursuing an independent foreign policy.

Secondly, China, with down-to-earth actions, supports the Maldives in speeding up its socio-economic construction and enhancing the capability of independent development. China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the expansion and upgrading project of the Velana International Airport, social housing, and other projects have brought transformative changes to the Maldivian people’s lives.

Thirdly, at the historical point of the 50th anniversary of the China-Maldives diplomatic relations, the two sides should take a broader view and open up a new chapter of mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation.

Four Key Direction for Future cooperation

Firstly, to continue cooperation in fighting against the pandemic for a complete victory; Secondly, to continue to build the Belt and Road with high quality, accelerating cooperation on key projects and tourism, and promote the ratification and taking effect of the China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement at an early date, so as to offer impetus to the Maldives’ post-pandemic economic recovery. Thirdly, to expand cooperation with the Maldives in emerging fields such as communication, digitization, and marine economy and back its efforts for the strategy of diversified development. Fourthly, to strengthen coordination in international affairs and safeguard the international system centered on the UN.

Sinamale' Bridge/ Photo: The Press

Five Key agreements signed

During Foreign Minister Wang Yi's trip, the two sides signed five cooperation documents, mainly on mutual visa exemption, economic and technical cooperation on grant aid, follow-up management, and maintenance of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, sea-water desalination project, and hospital assistance and cooperation program.

The mutual visa exemption agreement will greatly facilitate the movement of people between the two countries once the pandemic is under control, which will help enhance people-to-people understanding and friendship. Under the agreement on economic and technical cooperation on grant aid, China will help the Maldives with socio-economic, livelihood, and infrastructure construction.

Housing Minister signed an agreement on behalf of the Maldivian government/ Photo: Foreign Ministry

The signing and implementation of these documents are new initiatives for China to support the Maldives in accelerating economic and social construction and improve its independent development capacity, which will not only provide the impetus for the revival of the Maldivian economy and improvement of its people’s livelihood but also help promote people-to-people exchanges and friendship between the two countries