Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid in Male, Maldives, Jan. 8, 2022. (Xinhua/Tang Lu)
MALE, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid here on Saturday, with both sides pledging to jointly build the Belt and Road and focus on post-pandemic recovery.
Wang said that looking back at the past 50 years since China and the Maldives established diplomatic relations, one can see that the two countries have always been mutually respectful, treating each other equally and sincerely, and firmly supporting each other on issues of core interests.
The two sides will continue to build the Belt and Road with high quality, actively pushing for key projects on basic infrastructure, houses, around-the-island power grid, and sea water desalination so as to offer impetus to the Maldives' post-pandemic economic recovery, Wang said.
China supports the Maldives' strategy of diversified development, and is willing to strengthen cooperation in emerging sectors such as digitalization and communication, and will help the Maldives to develop marine economy and tackle climate change, said Wang, adding that China welcomes more Maldivian products to enter its market.
For his part, Shahid said the joint construction of Belt and Road has borne fruitful results and has completely changed the Maldives' society. China has offered a large number of materials and vaccines to his country to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, playing a key role in the 80-percent high vaccination rate in the Maldives.
The Maldives is willing to deepen pragmatic cooperation with the Chinese side, the foreign minister stressed.
Wang said he is glad to see Shahid will attend the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games in his capacity as president of the United Nations General Assembly, and the latter said he looks forward to attending the event and believes the games will be a great success.
After the meeting, the two sides signed cooperative agreements on mutual visa exemption, economic technology, infrastructure, sea water desalination, medicine and public health, among others.
At the joint press conference with Shahid on Saturday, Wang said that 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 have advanced the development of the future-oriented, all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between China and the Maldives.
Wang said China will advance its joint efforts with the Maldives for a complete victory over COVID-19, accelerate cooperation on key projects and inject recovery momentum into vital Maldivian industries.
It is hoped the China-Maldives free trade agreement can be ratified and take effect at an early date so that the Maldivian products and services can access China's market more easily, he added.
China is also willing to enhance cooperation with the archipelagic country on addressing climate change and helping small island countries in overcoming practical difficulties, Wang said.
The Chinese foreign minister is on his two-day tour to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Before this, Wang visited the African nations of Eritrea, Kenya and the Comoros from Jan. 4 to 7 upon invitation. ■