China hopes Maldives will back BRI, trade deal

China on Tuesday signalled its expectation that the newly elected government in the Maldives will continue to back the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as well as the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reached with the outgoing administration of Abdulla Yameen. “China and the Maldives enjoy traditional friendship and in recent years, the two countries maintained sound momentum and conducted mutually beneficial cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road, and achieved outstanding outcomes,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a response to a question. ‘Traditional friendship’ “We are willing to work with the Maldives to consolidate our traditional friendship and deepen our cooperation to the benefit of the people of both the nations.” In its congratulatory message, the Foreign Ministry said it respected the choice of the people of the Maldives, and hoped that the country “can maintain stability and development”. Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was the surprise winner of the Maldives’ presidential election, defeating Abdulla Yameen. “As to the FTA signed between China and the Maldives… we hope the Maldives will maintain consistency and stability of their policy and create an enabling environment for Chinese enterprises operation in the Maldives,” said the spokesperson.

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