MALE, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- President of the Maldives Mohamed Waheed, who is scheduled to attend the China-Eurasia Expo in Urumqi in West China early this month, has lauded China for its policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
In an interview with Xinhua, Waheed said that China, unlike other influential countries, looks at international affairs of small countries like Maldives from a unique perspective. "China is emerging as one of the superpowers now. In that sense, it will inevitably play a significant role in world affairs," Waheed said.
The president of Indian Ocean archipelago also thanked China for the influx of Chinese tourists to his country.
"We have a big number of Chinese tourists who are coming to Maldives. China is the biggest tourist market for Maldives. We are really happy that Chinese tourists choose to visit Maldives," Waheed said.
By the end of June 2012, a total of 91,148 Chinese tourists have already visited Maldives, which is a 13.1 percent growth. A total of 17,809 arrivals from China were recorded for the month of June alone, representing 30 percent of the total market share and a 15.6 percent growth compared to June 2011.
President Waheed said that Chinese tourists coming to Maldives are just following the footsteps of ancient Chinese travelers who came to Maldives and "who became very important links between our country and China."
Waheed said many works have still to be done to strengthen the ties between the two countries.
"We need to promote knowledge about Maldives in China. It is important that we bring more information about our country to potential Chinese travelers to Maldives,"Waheed said.
He also highlighted the importance of expanding trade and commerce with China. "China is a huge market and a lot of innovations and developments are going on there. We would like to expand our trade and commerce with China like all other countries in the world," Waheed said.
According to Waheed, Maldives has benefited from Chinese companies that were able to provide construction services in the island nation. "Chinese companies are now in Maldives building housing projects and other infrastructure projects and we are hoping to expand them, " he said. "Many of our business people are now traveling to China and they are looking at possibilities for expanding trade and economic ties, " Waheed said.
Waheed who took over the Maldives presidency on Feb.7 this year, described his plans to build the economy of the island nation by attracting foreign investors, including those from state-owned Chinese companies. "Our investment climate is good. Maldives is one country where you could repatriate entire profit. There is no foreign exchange control, and company registration is easy. So it is good place for investment," Waheed said.
He said struggling with the climate changes, Maldives is forced to think about new areas to develop while fighting to protect beaches from unfavorable weather conditions. "Our ground water is being contaminated due to beach erosion. So we have to invest in the production of safe drinking water, provide basic services like sewerage and electricity," the president said.
The Maldives has decided to promote new rules for renewable energy and China is an important partner in this endeavor."China has cutting edge technology for this. It is producing low cost solar panels. I am optimistic that we can corporate with China in this area," Waheed said.
China and the Maldives established diplomatic relations on Oct. 14, 1972. From then on, friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries have constantly developed through top-level exchange of visits by officials of both countries.