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Maldives-China ties to continue to prosper: Maldivian parliament speaker
Posted: May-31-2011Adjust font size:

  Interview: Maldives-China ties to continue to prosper: Maldivian parliament speaker

  by Zheng Jie and Che Hongliang

  MALE, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Top Maldivian legislator Abdulla Shahid said here Saturday that Maldives-China relations are based on a solid foundation and fundamental understanding, adding that ties between the two countries will continue to prosper.

  Shahid, speaker of the Maldivian People's Majlis, the nation's parliament, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua prior to the official goodwill visit by his Chinese counterpart Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People 's Congress (NPC), to Maldives from May 28-31.

  Shahid said he visited China in January this year and called on his counterpart Wu Bangguo. "It was a very fruitful meeting. The fact that the chairman is conducting a visit to Maldives so soon after my visit shows the importance that the chairman and China attach to Maldives," said the Maldivian parliament speaker. "Next year we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Maldives and China. Maldives and China have outstanding relations based on mutual trust, respect and friendship which is a solid foundation for any strong relationship, " Shahid said.

  He said Maldives has always held a principled stand and supported the One-China policy. "We will remain the same and not compromise on this," he stressed.

  Shahid expressed the hope that Wu's upcoming visit will enhance bilateral relations and understanding between Maldives and China. "This is the highest-ranking visit from China to Maldives. This visit is therefore very symbolic. I hope that the chairman will better understand Maldives after his visit. I was very impressed with the pace of development in China. Exchanges and visits are about understanding each others countries more," he said.

  Shahid said, "I also think that many Chinese tourists who visit Maldives will take happy memories and good words of Maldives. There are now direct flights between Maldives and China, which has increased the number of tourists from China to Maldives."

  However, Shahid said, up to date Maldivians are required a prior visa from the Embassy of China in Sri Lanka, which hinders Maldivians from taking full advantage of the direct flights. " Therefore, I intend to use this opportunity to discuss further the possibility of Maldivians traveling to China without a prior visa," he said.

  He said that Wu's visit will strengthen the existing friendship and cooperation between Maldives and China, saying that there will be continued assistance to Maldives from China, especially in the fields such as housing projects.

  "I also believe this will enhance cooperation between the two Parliaments. We already have a Maldives-China Parliamentary Friendship Group and China's Parliament too has a similar group focusing on developing relations between the two Parliaments," said Shahid.

  "I do not see the relations between Maldives and China being affected in any way because our relations are based on a solid foundation and fundamental understanding. I think that relations between Maldives and China will continue to prosper," the parliament speaker said.

  On October 14, 1972, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Maldives established diplomatic relations. Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka is concurrently serving as ambassador to Maldives. From then on, friendly relations and cooperation between China and Maldives have constantly developed with many exchanges of top-level visits.

Source: Xinhua 2011-5-28Editor: Shen
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