'No political condition to Maldives aid', insists China

The China government has always respected the willingness of the Maldives government and its people in aiding the development of the archipelago, Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Zhang Lizhong said Monday.

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom since taking office in 2013 has looked to China to realize his ambitious infrastructure development plans. Beijing has provided loans to fund several major infrastructure projects including a landmark bridge connecting the capital Male to the airport island Hulhule.

China's growing influence in the Maldives has sparked concern in neighbours India amid warnings that Maldives could fall into a debt trap like Sri Lanka.

However, speaking during a ceremony held to handover a China aid vehicle to the National Drug Agency in the capital Male, Lizhong insisted that the relationship between the two countries remain "mutually beneficial, open and inclusive as well as transparent."

"China-Maldives mutual benefit cooperation gives priority to the livelihood improvement, fully respects the willing of the Maldivian government and people, and fully takes the local development needs into consideration without any affiliated political conditions," the Ambassador explained.

Lizhong further said the continuous support of the Maldivian people "from all walks of life" was needed to maintain the China-Maldives relationship on the right stable track.