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Thursday, May 17, 2001, updated at 09:39(GMT+8)

Chinese Premier Holds Talks with Maldivian President

Chinese Premier Holds Talks with Maldivian President
Visiting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji on Wednesday held talks with Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in Male at the Male Conference Center.

During the talks, Zhu called President Gayoom an old friend of the Chinese people who has made positive contribution to the development of China-Maldives friendly relations.

Gayoom expressed his welcome to Zhu's visit, saying Zhu's visit is of historical significance because this is the first time for a Chinese head of government to visit the Indian Ocean island country. Gayoom said he is confident that Zhu's visit will further consolidate and advance the friendly relations of cooperation between the Maldives and China.

Premier Zhu said China and the Maldives are two friendly countries, with the friendship between their two peoples dating back to ancient times. In the 29 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, their political relations have been continuously consolidated and their economic cooperation been tapped. The Chinese side is satisfied with the current status of China-Maldives relations.

Zhu said that both being developing countries, China and the Maldives have engaged in positive cooperation in international and regional affairs. China thanks the Maldivian government for its consistent and firm support to China on the issues of human rights, Taiwan and Tibet.

The Chinese premier stressed that it is a set policy of China to keep developing long-term and stable friendly cooperation with the Maldives. China has always advocated that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, are equal members of the international community. As long as the above principle is observed and there is mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutually equal treatment in handling state-to-state relations, the relations between two countries will, of course, grow better and better.

Zhu vowed that the friendly policy that China pursues toward the Maldives will not change, despite changes in regional and international situation. He said China wants to be a friend and a good partner of the Maldives forever.

On bilateral economic and trade cooperation, Zhu said that in general, it has been developing smoothly. The Chinese government has provided the Maldives with some assistance and helped build some projects in the island country within China's capacity. Though China and the Maldives are far apart geographically, there exist conditions and potentials for strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Zhu told Gayoom that China encourages well-established Chinese enterprises to take part in the economic construction of the Maldives in various ways and hopes the Maldivian side will offer more opportunities and convenience to Chinese enterprises.

President Gayoom said the Maldivian side is also satisfied with the development of relations with China at a time to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Gayoom said the two countries vary in national conditions but always respect and support each other and enjoy good cooperation in bilateral and multi-lateral affairs. The Maldives attaches great importance to developing relations with China, sticks to one China policy and supports the peaceful reunification of China.

Gayoom said the Maldivian government and people thank China for its help in the economic and social development of the Maldives and hope that the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between the Maldives and China will further develop in the new century.

The Maldives is the third leg of Zhu's five-nation South Asia and Southeast Asia tour. Zhu has already visited Pakistan and Nepal and will go to Sri Lanka and Thailand after concluding his visit here.

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Visiting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji on Wednesday held talks with Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in Male at the Male Conference Center.

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