Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has officially inaugurated the Sinamale Bridge, more commonly known as the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge linking capital city Male’ to Hulhule island, on Thursday night.
The opening of the bridge was joined by a special delegate from the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, along with Minister of Housing and Infrastructure, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, President Yameen’s running mate Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed as well as several other top officials of the government. While Minister Muizzu had earlier revealed that several events had been scheduled to mark the special occasion, the inaugurating ceremony features a light show, as well as fireworks.
The ceremony was held in the artificial beach and carnival area where locals also participated and events representing both Chinese and Maldivian cultures took place.
Having thanked the Chinese government for its cooperation with the Maldives government, President Yameen revealed that it is “a happy occasion that China is our [Maldives] partner” as Maldives entered a free trade agreement for the very first time in 2017.
“The Sinamale’ bridge is an embodiment of strong relations between the people of china and the people of Maldives. It is a true icon of how a mutually beneficial and truly genuine partnership between a larger country and a smaller one could affect meaningful change in the direction of progress and prosperity. It stands to show that constructive dialogue and mutual respect between states and between people can be a testament to greater things that could be achieved in the globalized world. Proof that through genuine partnership, nothing is impossible” said the President.
Describing the completion of the Sinamale bridge as the “opening of a new gateway, the gateway into tomorrow and the opportunities beyond”, President Yameen said that this “brings ease to those students who had to travel the sea in the rain to sit for their exams, and made the journey of the elderly and disabled to the airport and to the hospitals a lot easier.”
Also having mentioned the government’s pledge to cover expenses for those who wish to get wedded on the bridge, President Yameen said that “the young couple united in marriage starting their life anew will be able to walk onto Hulhumale with hope, walk into a future where we are able to provide for them a life which is not only filled with expectations and aspirations, but a future where they would be able to realize their ambitions. They will be equipped with tools to cater for a life of prosperity and comfort. They won’t be forced to settle abroad for education for their children. They don’t need to despair for want of shelter and treatment for their patients. A future which is safe and secure.”
President Yameen, who is vying for re-election in the approaching Presidential Election, ended his speech by presenting the Sinamale Bridge to the people of the Maldives as the “the biggest achievement in our diplomatic history to the people of Maldives.”
“I am thankful for this opportunity to finally fulfil this venture. And to deliver to my people, their most priced and expensive asset” said President Yameen.
While over 1,000 expatriate workers are involved in the bridge development project established between the government and Chinese company, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Second Harbor Engineering Company Limited, about USD 200 million are being spent for the project, out of which USD 116 million is free aid by the Chinese government and USD 72 million is allocated as loan by the Chinese government.
Although the Sinamale Bridge has been officially opened on Thursday night, it will be open for public transportation from the 07th of September onward.