BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Maltese Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo agreed Tuesday to further develop bilateral ties.
In a phone talk, Wang expressed his gratitude for the understanding and support the Maltese side has given to China in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that China also provided Malta with anti-epidemic supplies and assistance and shared its experience in combating the virus.
He said the Chinese side believes that under the leadership of the new Maltese government, the Maltese side will eventually triumph over the outbreak.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, the country has mobilized all the people and adopted the most rigorous and resolute measures to effectively control the epidemic situation, he said.
At present, China is accelerating its economic and social development while normalizing the epidemic prevention and control, and is expected to become the first major economy that can achieve positive growth, Wang said.
Noting that vaccines are a powerful means for the eventual victory against the pandemic, Wang said China has made smooth progress in vaccine research and development, and is willing to give active consideration to provide the vaccines, once being successfully put into use, for countries in need.
China and Malta, Wang said, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2022, and both sides should plan commemorative activities at an early date.
China stands ready to work with the Maltese side to consolidate and deepen political mutual trust and expand practical cooperation abiding by the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, so as to usher in the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with more fruitful results, Wang said.
Malta has an important strategic position, and can serve as a gateway for Chinese companies to enter markets in the European Union (EU) and Africa, Wang said, adding that the Chinese government will continue to encourage and support Chinese companies to invest and do business in Malta.
China highly appreciates Malta's adherence to the basic principles of independence, self-reliance and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs when dealing with international relations, Wang said.
China hopes and believes that Malta can play a constructive role in boosting China-Europe relations, and encourage the EU to take a more positive, cooperative and constructive attitude in viewing and developing relations with China, he said.
For his part, Bartolo expressed his gratitude for the great support and aid China provided when Malta needed them most in its anti-pandemic fight.
The Maltese side greatly values China's announcement that it will make COVID-19 vaccine a public good, as it will help to expand the accessibility and affordability of the vaccine to its utmost level, he said.
Malta-China relations have seen great progress since the diplomatic ties were established 50 years ago, Bartolo said, adding that the Maltese side expects to further develop bilateral ties on the basis of equality and mutual-benefit, and welcomes more Chinese enterprises to invest in Malta and hold discussions over tri-party cooperation in the EU and Africa. Enditem