China and the Maldives will sign several agreements to further bolster their bilateral ties following talks between President Xi Jinping and his Maldivian counterpart Mohamed Muizzu in Beijing this week, according to a senior official.
Xi will host a welcome ceremony and a welcome banquet for Muizzu during his state visit from January 8-12, the first by the Maldivian leader to a foreign country since he assumed office in November last year, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.
The two heads of state will hold talks and attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents. Premier Li Qiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhao Leji will meet with President Muizzu respectively, Wang told reporters here on Friday.
Wang emphasised that this would be Muizzu’s first state visit to a foreign country since he took office.
Muizzu, who is seen as a pro-China politician, took oath as the eighth President of the Maldives after defeating the India-friendly incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the presidential runoff held in September.
President Xi will host a welcome ceremony and a welcome banquet for President Muizzu, Wang said without providing a date for the bilateral talks.
The two heads of state will hold talks and attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents, he said.
“China and the Maldives boast time-honoured friendship. In the past 52 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have treated each other with respect and supported each other, setting a fine example of equality and mutual benefits between countries of different sizes,” the spokesperson said.
In 2014, Xi made a state visit to the Maldives. The two sides agreed to build a future-oriented all-around friendly and cooperative partnership, Wang said.
Over the past decade, the relations between China and the Maldives have deepened and achieved fruitful outcomes of practical cooperation in various fields, including Belt and Road cooperation, and deepening traditional friendship, he told reporters in response to a question.
“The relations between China and the Maldives now stand at a new historical starting point. We believe that through this visit, the two heads of state will provide strategic guidance for bilateral relations to reach a new height,” Wang added.
Meanwhile, the state-run Global Times, in an editorial, said that both China and the Maldives attached great importance to this visit, and the two countries are expected to reach a series of cooperative agreements in the fields of politics, economy, culture, and green development, as well as to promote the bilateral relationship to a new level.
The “progress in China-Maldives relations is not achieved through any magic by China, but by consistently adhering to mutual respect and support, setting an example of equal treatment and mutually beneficial cooperation between large and small nations”, it said.
“This right path of state-to-state interaction not only benefits the people of China and the Maldives, but is also worth considering as a reference for all countries wishing to develop normal diplomatic relations,” the tabloid, part of the ruling Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily group, commented while noting that many foreign media outlets have noticed that Muizzu will break from tradition by visiting China before India.
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