Chinese Ambassador Zhang Lizhong has refuted Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed's statement regarding the country falling into a debt trap at the hands of China, claiming his remarks to be baseless.
The Speaker addressed Maldives-China relations during his ongoing visit to India. Speaking with 'Lok Saba TV', Nasheed stated that Maldives had fallen into a debt trap due to numerous Chinese investments brought to the country under the reign of former President Yameen Abdul Gayyoom.
To further gratify India, Speaker Nasheed said that Maldives will no longer proceed with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Nasheed has previously spoken of China in this regard as well. He continues to make such statements damaging the Maldives' relations with China.
Refuting Nasheed's remarks, Ambassador Lizhong said that China is not one to diminish the independence of another country, stating that their aim was to provide financial aid and support to fellow countries. Moreover, he questioned the absurdity of China 'grabbing' Maldivian land.
In reference to Nasheed's statements, the Ambassador said that the Speaker had made sensational and baseless claims damaging the China-Maldives relations.
Moreover, Ambassador Lizhong stated that China has been a key developmental partner and the largest tourist source market for the Maldives. He further rebuked Nasheed's remarks undermining China-Maldives FTA, stating that the agreement was signed by the two governments after years of negotiations and consultation on equal footing.
Highlighting that the agreement was of mutual benefit, the Ambassador said that any further decisions by the government shall be made wisely with careful consideration.
In a tweet referencing Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Ambassador Zhang Lizhong called on Maldivian politicians to adopt an objective and responsible attitude on bilateral ties.
Nasheed has been making similar remarks here and then, recurring especially on his visits to India and the Chinese Ambassador continues to refute these claims.