CHINA - The picturesque Maldives, with its stunning scenery and turquoise waters, has long had a hold on the imagination of Chinese people, and the growing links between the countries will take on a more substantial form with a range of key infrastructure initiatives.
A housing and a road project involving China was unveiled on Monday, part of a number of infrastructure projects that include building a landmark bridge and upgrading the main airport in the island country.
China will examine the viability of building a bridge linking the capital Male to the nearby island of Hulhule, where Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is located, President Xi Jinping told his Maldives counterpart Abdulla Yameen.
A preliminary contract agreement expanding and upgrading the airport was also signed.
China fully supports enterprises that will drive Maldives' economic development and key projects, Xi said on the first visit by a Chinese state leader to the Maldives.
Yameen said, "At such a crucial juncture of our development, it is indeed a source of major encouragement and inspiration that one of our most constructive economic partners is willing to support our national effort to transform our economy, bring capital, and promote trade and development."
Yameen proposed calling the Male-Hulhule bridge "a bridge of China-Maldives friendship".