China appoints new ambassador to Maldives

President Yameen (R) shakes hands with the new Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, Zhang Lizhong, PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE

President Yameen (R) shakes hands with the new Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, Zhang Lizhong, PHOTO/PRESIDENT’S OFFICE

The new Ambassador of China to the Maldives, Zhang Lizhong, presented his credentials to President Abdulla Yameen early Tuesday at the President’s Office.

Warmly welcoming the new ambassador following the departure of his predecessor, Wang Fukang, earlier this month, President Yameen extended the greetings of the government and people of the Maldives to China.

The president asserted his commitment to strengthen the increasingly close bilateral relations between the two Asian allies, expressing gratitude for the Chinese government’s continued aid and assistance in the socio-economic development of the archipelago. In his thanks, President Yameen emphasized the two ongoing mega projects of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge and enhancement of Velana International Airport (Via), both of which are in part financed by the Chinese government.

Ambassador Wang Lizhong praised the Maldivian government for the progress it has made in the development of the nation. Noting the Maldives’ openness to foreign investment in mega development projects, the ambassador assured his support in enhancing the relations between the Maldives and China via trade and investment, as well as a promise to increase the number of Chinese tourists to the island nation.

The Maldives and China celebrated 45 years of diplomatic relations this year. The Chinese government is financing the bulk of the expenditures for the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the largest development project undertaken in the island nation yet, via loans and free aid. In addition to VIA’s expansion, China is also aiding in the second phase of development of reclaimed suburb Hulhumale.

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