Chinese ambassador to Maldives has reportedly handed over bill of $3.2 billion to the newly appointed government.
The country went on construction spree under last government after borrowing billions from China. The new administration said that the economy is in worse situation than they assumed and it needs time to figure out how much it actually owes to China.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Zhang Lizhong has dismissed claims of Solih government and said that the amount is “deeply exaggerated.”
However, Maldivians officials say the amount may have increased because of sovereign guarantees given by the last government.
The new government under President Mohamed Ibrahim Solih has recently announced its intention to pull out the of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
“The trade imbalance between China and the Maldives is so huge that nobody would think of an FTA between such parties,” recently said Mohamed Nasheed, former president and current advisor to new President Solih.
Former Maldivian President, Abdullah Yameen signed the FTA with China during his visit to Beijing. The Maldivian government has recently said that the state coffers were “looted” by the last government.
Maldivian officials said that the last government has also leased some islands to Chinese developers for building resorts.Maldives’ Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid plans to visit China soon to discuss bilateral issues. Shahid will visit India from 24 to 27 November.