The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China; the Speaker of the Maldives Parliament, our Parliament; the Leader of the Opposition; Members of the Parliament; Ministers; and everyone gathered here tonight.

For more than 1000 years we have had Chinese travelers coming to the Maldives, but His Excellency is the highest ranking Chinese official to ever come to the Maldives and thank you for that.

We have formal relations that go back, now next year it will be 40 years since the Maldives and China started their diplomatic formal relations. But of course both our countries go back many centuries. We have had Chinese travelers describing the Maldives as far back as in the 1300s.

The Maldives is situated right in the middle of the Indian Ocean. All travelers who want to reach China from the West always cross the Maldives. All Chinese who want to reach the West again cross the Maldives. We have always been, we have always tried our best to be as hospitable. We hope that tonight, throughout this visit, we are able to satisfy His Excellency’s stay in the Maldives.

Of our development partners, China is one of the most engaging and we are able to work with the Chinese government, Chinese company and Chinese societies happily and also very fruitfully.

Even as we speak, we have a number of Chinese programmes, working with the government of the Maldives. We thank the people of China, its leadership for all the support.

We of course hope that this is not the last trip. His Excellency, hopefully, will come to the Maldives with his family, with his grandchildren, who His Excellency says are in Beijing and Shanghai. We hope to extend our hospitality to your family and Your Excellency.

We hope to have a very fruitful and a long relationship.

Thank you very much.

I would like to raise a glass for our long lasting friendship between the Chinese people and its government.

Thank you.