China is a contributor, not a trap maker: Chinese envoy slams Nasheed

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Dec 14, 2019, 07.16 PM(IST) Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

File photo: Mohamed Nasheed. Photograph:( AFP )

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In a series of tweets, Zhang said that China's investment in the island nation is 'no different from any other country' and that it isn't a debt trap.

Chinese envoy to the Maldives, Ambassador Zhang Lizhong on Saturday slammed former Maldivian President and incumbent Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed in a series of tweets.

Zhang's remarks come after Nasheed, in an exclusive interview to WION's diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal, said the Chinese government needs to restructure the debt accrued in the island nation and that the "Maldives-China FTA is dead".

In a series of tweets, Zhang said that China's investment in the island nation is "no different from any other country" and it isn't a debt trap.

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"Again, sensational but baseless remarks on China by some Maldivian politician! Does China grab Maldivian land? Absurd! China’s investment in Maldives is no different from any other country. @MohamedNasheed @ibusolih @abdulla_shahid," one of his tweets read. 

Zhang said that with respect to the China-Maldives FTA, "I trust Maldivian government will make a wise choice on an agreement already signed by the two governments after years of negotiations and consultations on equal footing". 

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"Debt trap? It is a fiction. China is a contributor, not a trap maker. China is a development partner and biggest tourist source market for Maldives," Zhang posted on microblogging site Twitter.

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"We hope Maldivian politicians have an objective and responsible attitude on bilateral ties, cherish what we have achieved so as to keep this important relationship on healthy and correct track," he tweeted out. 

Nasheed, in an exclusive interview to WION, had said that, "the FTA is dead. It is not proceeding and it has to come to the parliament first for it to be implemented. I don't see our parliamentarians having the appetite for it." 

"The Chinese government must restructure the debt and it is up to them to do it and I hope they will do it," Nasheed told WION's Sidhant Sibal.