Ambassador sheds light on China-Maldives loan repayment

Ambassador sheds light on China-Maldives loan repayment

Ambassador of China to Maldives Zhang Lizhong assured late Monday that repayment of China's loans to Maldives is feasible but noted that high-level talks between the two governments will take place nonetheless.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Chinese embassy in capital Male', Ambassador Lizhong declared that China's loans were issued on projects that would sustainably generate revenue. However, he assured that Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid could discuss any concerns of the Maldivan state with China during his visit.

The administration of incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has repeatedly expressed concerns over the interest rates of China's loans, which were issued during the government of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The current administration had iterated that it would negotiate with the Chinese government again.

In response to a reporter's inquiry as to whether such discussions have commenced, Lizhong stated that arrangements would be made for Minister Shahid to take the matter to the Chinese government if there were concerns.

He added that the two nations are in talks for a convenient time to organise an official trip to China for the foreign minister.

The ambassador further revealed that the Chinese government has strengthened the policies of its Belt and Road Initiative, the development strategy involving infrastructure development and investments in over 150 countries. Lizhong assured that BRI's financing policies are transparent and sustainable.

Ambassador Lizhong also spoke of Maldives-China ties in the wake of President Solih assuming office in November 2018, stating that the change in administration has not hindered China's projects in Maldives.