Beijing, CHINA: The Maldives has signed twelve agreements with China, including a pact to jointly promote the One Belt One Road (OBOR) programme, during the visit of the island nation’s President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom here on Friday (08.12.17). The two countries also agreed to work towards signing a free trade agreement soon.
The agreements with the Maldives is part of Beijing’s continuing efforts to persuade South Asian countries to adopt the OBOR programme, and hand over infrastructure construction projects to Chinese companies. Some experts believe that China has been pushing OBOR into South Asian countries, including Nepal, to force a reluctant India to accept it.
China is also building relationship with other South Asian countries in order to influence the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC) the same way it has with ASEAN+1 with Association of South Eastern Asian Nations.
During their meeting, Xi expressed hope that the Maldives would continue to support China’s cooperation with the SAARC.
“China is willing to dovetail the development strategies with the Maldives and share opportunities to realize common prosperity,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told Gayoom. The Chinese official media indicated that Yameen was eager to participate in development plans laid out in Beijing.
Maldives’s ties to China have risen to a new level since 2014, Yameen said
Xi suggested that the two countries should jointly crack down on crime, terrorism and drug trafficking besides expanding exchanges and cooperation in tourism, culture, education, health care and at local levels.
“China stands ready to work with the Maldives to jointly deal with climate change to realize green, low-carbon and sustainable development,” Xi said