The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has provided small nations a fair chance to boost their development further, as well as allowing all countries access to advanced technologies, well-built infrastructure and deepened people-to-people exchanges, said Mohamed Faisal, Maldivian Ambassador to China.
“Serving as a successful model for small nations, China has been taking the lead under the framework of the BRI, providing new opportunities for small nations like the Maldives. The BRI has become an international arena in which small nations can get together to cooperate,” Faisal said.
An archipelago of around 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives’ strategic significance grants the country a prominent position on the 21st Maritime Silk Road. In recent years, China and the Maldives have strengthened their cooperation under the framework of the BRI, with China becoming the first country that the Maldives signed a Free Trade Agreement with.
According to the ambassador, the two nations will focus on new cooperative areas, including green energy, technological innovation and cultural exchange, while the Maldives will provide more favourable policies to attract Chinese investment.
“The Chinese public’s first impression of the Maldives might be tourism, but our country is far more than that. I hope our two nations can further strengthen cooperation in multiple areas,” added Faisal.
As for the upcoming second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which is expected to be held in Beijing this month, Faisal said that he looks forward to more comprehensive development.
“It has been over five years since the BRI was launched. I hope during this forum, we can produce more detailed cooperative plans,” he said.