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Chinese-built housing project a testimony to enhanced ties with Maldives



A handover ceremony of the Maldives Vinares housing project (phase III), which was undertaken by Sinomach subsidiary China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), was held on June 20.

Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Maldives, addressed the ceremony via video link to congratulate the project on its smooth handover.

Faisal Naseem, vice-president of the Republic of Maldives, and Yu Xueyong, charge d'affaires ad interim of the Chinese Embassy in Maldives, also participated in the ceremony.

Abdulla Shahid, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, sent a video speech from the United Nations Headquarters to congratulate the project on its success. [Photo/CMEC]

Noting the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, he said that the housing project will benefit more people in Maldives and build a stronger China-Maldives friendship.

The two countries have achieved promising results in housing, infrastructure, transport, and energy. CMEC is China's first international engineering company to be deeply involved in housing and infrastructure construction in Maldives.

The Maldivian Ministry of Housing and CMEC signed the memorandum of understanding for 4,000 housing units for the benefit of people in 2009. The project was designed to be completed in three phases with a total construction area exceeding 360,000 square meters. It is one of the key livelihood projects of Maldives, and also the largest civilian housing project in the country's history.

Such China-aided projects are focused on infrastructure construction and people's livelihoods in light of the characteristics of the country. For instance, the preferential loan provided by China to implement the 4,000-apartment housing project in Maldives is to help it realize sustainable economic development.

It is widely known that Male Island, the capital of Maldives, is one of the most crowded capitals in the world. On the island, the streets are so narrow that sometimes drivers have to retract their rear-view mirrors to prevent their being damaged. The living environment on other islands in the country is even worse. This is why housing has always been a top priority of the Maldivian government.

The housing project's first phase was delivered and put into service at the end of 2012. When all three phases of the project are completed, the 4,000 apartments in total will be provided to residents in the form of affordable housing, and solve the housing problem for nearly 30,000 people, or one-tenth of the Maldivian population.

The third phase of the project has introduced high-quality materials and techniques to build 1,344 apartments and supporting facilities, which will be home to more than 10,000 people. [Photo/CMEC]

The Maldives housing project has lessened overcrowding in housing and created a large number of employment opportunities. It has also developed a new model of integrated economy in infrastructure, commerce and tourism.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Maldives in 1972. The two countries have since enjoyed mutual understanding and respect.

China and Maldives have stood in solidarity and joined hands in fighting the pandemic. China has pledged more aid, including vaccines, to Maldives, and the two sides have agreed to scale up cooperation in joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The development of Maldives in recent years testifies that that initiative is an opportunity for developing states, especially small island states, to achieve their full potential through trade and development. Moreover, it is an opportunity for developing nations to effectively "stand on their own feet" by developing the facilities for future independent development.

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