|Brief on Sino-Maltese Relations|
BRIEF ON SINO-MALTESE RELATIONS
1. Political Relations
On 31 January, 1972, China and Malta set up the diplomatic relations. Since then, the bilateral relations have developed smoothly on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Recently, high-level exchanges of visits between the two countries have increased considerably and friendly co-operation between two sides has been enhanced in all fields.
High-ranking Visits to Malta
November 1984 - Chinese President Li Xian-lian
March 1991 - Qian Qi-chen, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs
May 1994 - Wang Guang-ying, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the
National People’s Congress
October 1995 - Li Peng, Prime Minister
January 1998 - Qian Qi-chen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
April 2000 - Li Lan-qing, Deputy Prime Minister
November 2000 - Tian Ji-yun, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress
May 2001 - Huang Ju, Party Secretary of Shanghai
July 2001 - President Jiang Ze-ming
High-ranking Visits to China
1972-1984 - Prime Minister Don Mintoff (5 times)
August 1985 - President Agatha Barbara
May 1991 - Guido de Marco, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
December 1991 - President Vincent Tabone
June 1994 - Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami
May 1996 - Lawrence Gonzi, Speaker of the House of Representatives
September 1997 - George Vella, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Foreign Affairs
May 2000 - Lawrence Gonzi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Policy
July 2000 - Joe Borg, Minister of Foreign Affairs
July 2001 - President Guido de Marco
June 2002 - Anton Tabone, Speaker of the House of Representatives
November 2002 - Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami
2. Economic and Commercial cooperation
After the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, the economical and trade relations between the two countries have developed rapidly and bilateral trade volume has growing very fast. According to the statistics from China’s General Administration of Customs, the total trade volume between the two countries between January and September in 2002 has reached 238.88 US$ million, with an increase of 105.8 % over the previous year. Out of this figure, China’s export to Malta was 98.32 US$ million and import from Malta was 136.56 US$ million with a growth rate of 46.4% and 190.7% respectively over the year before.
China’s major export commodities to Malta are house appliances, daily commodities, textiles, etc. and China’s main imports from Malta mostly concern electronic.
China has provided various economical assistances to Malta and the economic and technical cooperation have been fruitful between two sides.
In 1970s and 1980s, China provided a long-period non-interest loan valued at RMB 100 million (about 5 million Maltese Liri) under which 9 projects including No.6 Dry-dock were completed.
Since 1990s, the major bilateral cooperation has been in the fields of project contracting, labor services cooperation, establishment of sole-owned enterprises etc.
In March 1997, the project of Serenity Garden (Chinese Garden) assisted by Chinese side, was completed and opened in July the same year.
In July 1997, China gave Malta a grant of RMB 3 million. The amounts, in terms of the demand of Maltese side, were employed in the presentation of 14 trucks and 2 Beijing jeeps to Malta, the ceremony of transfer of which was held in May 1999.
In 1999 and 2000, China granted, on two separate occasions, RMB 3 million, respectively to Malta, which were used to update the equipments at Malta Dry-docks.
In August 1999, the first session of Sino-Maltese Economic and Trade Joint Committee was held in Beijing. The second, third and forth session were held respectively in September 2000, October 2001 and September 2002.
At present, there is one Chinese-owned enterprise in Malta, which is the Leisure Clothes Company Ltd. It was established by Chongqing International Economic and Technical Cooperation Company and started to operate in 1987 (became sole-owned enterprise in August 1996). The Mediterranean Regional Center of Chinese Traditional Medicine (a cooperation project between two governments) was established in April 1994. There is a small number of Chinese workers in Malta. In addition, there are overseas Chinese owned and operated companies such as Link Yarn Cashmere Industries Co. Ltd whose products are exported to EU and US markets.
3. Culture, Education, Health, Youth, Aging and Other Exchanges
Since 1972, China and Malta have conducted various exchanges and cooperation activities in the fields of Culture, Education, Health, Civil Affairs, Youth, Aging, etc. More than 20 artistic groups have visited Malta and exhibitions of industrial and artistic crafts and artistic photographs have been held in Malta. In 2001, the two sides agreed to establish in Malta a Chinese Cultural Center. Now the work of transformation and decoration is under way. The Center is expected to open soon.
At present, Malta has 2 students learning Chinese in China. Recently, more and more Chinese students came and learned in Malta on their own account. By 2002, the number of Chinese students in Malta is estimated to be more than 300. This includes approximately 116 students who are studying in University of Malta. The rest are language students studying in local English Language schools.
China and Malta have cooperative programs for youth exchanges. Both sides send youth delegations to visit each country annually.
China and Malta have had friendly cooperation in the field of aging for more than 9 years. In 1995 the co-operation programme, between the National Society of Aging of China and the UN Aging Institute in Malta, in the research of the situation of Chinese old people was completed. Between 1995-2002, the Chinese National Society of Aging has sent to Malta more than 6 groups, according to agreement with UN Aging Institute in Malta, to participate in the training courses prepared for them.