H.E. Yu Dunhai, Ambassador of China

This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

72 years is just a brief moment in the 5,000-year long history of the Chinese civilisation, but it has witnessed great changes taking place in my home country.

Over the past 72 years, China has grown from a poor and backward country to the world’s second-largest economy. We have realised the “two miracles” of rapid economic development and long-term social stability.

This year, we have completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China.

Chinese astronauts, with the desire to explore the universe for humankind, have boarded our own space station, and the Tianwen-1 lander has touched down on Mars.

Guided by the conviction that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, China has taken the lead in increasing green coverage over the past two decades, contributing some 25 per cent to the world’s total.

We have taken an active part in the fight against climate change. The consumption of clean energy accounts for 24.3 per cent of China’s total energy consumption while China's new energy vehicle ownership represents about half of the global total.

Pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace, we have actively promoted the Belt and Road initiative to provide new opportunities to the world with China’s development.

The year 2021 is an extraordinary one.

We celebrate the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Remaining true to the original aspiration and the mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, the CPC has led the people to find a development path suitable to the country’s conditions and gained the firm support of the Chinese people.

As President Xi pointed out that a hundred years on from its founding, the CPC is still in its prime, and remains as determined as ever to achieve lasting greatness for the Chinese nation. We are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.

We join hands with the rest of the world in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting economic recovery. We have shared our experience in fighting the virus with other countries and actively participated in global cooperation on origin tracing. China has provided more than one billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations and will strive to provide a total of two billion doses by the end of this year.

We have resumed work in an orderly manner, safeguarding the stability of the international industrial and supply chains. China's GDP increased by 12.7 per cent through the first half of 2021, injecting confidence and impetus into the global economy.

We contribute to world peace and development with concrete actions as a major, responsible country. China has upheld the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, championing multilateralism and open cooperation. China has actively participated in the reform and development of the global governance system. We have promoted political settlements of regional hotspot issues such as the Afghan issue and contributed Chinese wisdom and Chinese approaches to solving the challenges facing humanity such as climate change, terrorism and cybersecurity.

This is my first time celebrating our National Day as Chinese Ambassador to Malta. Nine months since my arrival, I have already fallen in love with this beautiful country and have experienced the friendly sentiments the Maltese people hold toward the Chinese people.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China and Malta have maintained stable relations despite constant changes of the international situation.

Based on mutual respect, we have built up solid political mutual trust. With win-win objectives, we have carried out fruitful cooperation. Learning from each other, we have promoted dynamic people-to-people exchanges. China-Malta friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples.

Last July, Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs visited China and held talks with his Chinese counterpart H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister. The two sides have reached many important consensuses and yielded positive results from the visit, which I’m confident will bring China-Malta relations to a new high.

As a Chinese proverb goes, no mountains and oceans can estrange those sharing the same vision. The long distance and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic cannot stop China-Malta friendship from advancing.

Next January will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries. We look forward to taking this opportunity to join hands with friends from all sectors of Malta to expand our exchanges and cooperation, with a view to ushering in an even brighter future for China-Malta relations.

H.E. George Vella, President of Malta

Next year, the Republic of Malta and the People’sRepublic of China will be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. This anniversary is a recognition of the excellent relations and efforts byboth sides to further enhance diplomatic dialogue, increase technological, commercial and cultural exchanges, and people to people encounters. Ongoing discussions to organise a State visit in 2022 are a clear sign that our respective countriesattribute a high-level of importance to thislong-standing friendship and are committed to encourage and maintain fruitful relations.

Relations between the Republic of Malta and the People’s Republic of China enjoy a long history of mutually beneficial cooperation and friendly dialogue on matters of common concern. Close bilateral cooperation on economic, educationaland cultural matters, and multilateral dialogue through high-level fora such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), continue to establisha strong network of Maltese and Chinese partners at various levels.

Malta has always viewed and promoted the People’s Republic of China as a strong and important bilateral and regional partner. Malta was among the first in its geopolitical region to recognise the strategic importance of ensuring cooperation with the People’s Republic of China is promoted on an equal level and that both Europe and China work in tandem to promote friendly and peaceful international relations. 

Multilateral cooperation to address issues of common concern such as terrorism, poverty, human trafficking, the proliferation of arms, pollution, climate change and sustainable development, remain our most challenging and daunting hurdles. Through shared visions and tangible cooperation, we can move closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Goals and leave no one behind. The establishment of trust and reciprocal cooperation between global powers, including small nation states, such as Malta, are key to ensure the world moves towards a more just, inclusive and peaceful future. 

The year 2021 is an important turning point in the development of global relations and multilateral cooperation. According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, this is also the year of the Ox, a symbol of diligence, persistence, and honesty. The infrastructural, economic and social changes experienced as a result of an abating, yet still persistent pandemic, are quickly revolutionising the world around us and redefining long held assumptions and positions about international cooperation, national health infrastructures, and trade.  It is therefore more important then ever to establish a strong commitment to uphold friendly relations through respectful dialogue and cooperation, and ensure our global efforts are geared towards achieving a more just world. The values attributed to the Ox, could be our guiding light, and as an international community recognise the important traits of perseverance, meticulousness, and goodness as providing the basis for increased trust and cooperation. 

On this auspicious occasion, I convey my warm greetings to President Xi Jinping and to the People’s Republic of China, wishing them prosperity, success and above all good health. 

Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Minister for European and Foreign Affairs

China celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Since then both China and the world have changed deeply to an extent that what happens in China and China’s relations with the rest of the world has started to shape and will increasingly shape the future of all mankind and countries on this planet.

As the second largest economy in the world and the world’s major trading partner, China has a lot of influence beyond its borders all around the world.

The coronavirus pandemic and other pandemics, climate emergency, cyber security, the digitalisation of life, the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the governance of Artificial Intelligence, inequalities within and between countries, global poverty and diseases, human development, the global military industrial complex feeding conflicts for its markets, the international organized crime, human trafficking and terrorism and unresolved disputes making it difficult for neighbours to live together … All these issues present risks and challenges that can only be addressed through global cooperation.

We are at a dangerous crossroads: what direction are we going to take? As we move from a unipolar to a multipolar world, with the old world still dying and the new one struggling to be born we need to help each other to manage this turbulent transition. It can only be managed if we move away from conducting relations with each other as countries as a permanent zero-sum game.

We should consider seriously what Henry Kissinger told the New Economy Forum last year: “Unless there is some basis for some cooperative action, the world will slide into a catastrophe comparable to World War I.” Up to one billion people have been killed in wars throughout human history. Other billions have been killed by starvation and diseases due to social injustices and political and economic systems that do not benefit all the people.

Even during this coronavirus pandemic it is clear that we are living in a world where we are in the same storm but in different boats. While 57 per cent of people in high-income countries had received at least one dose of vaccine by August 30, the figure in low-income countries was just two per cent according to the United Nations.

More than five million people became millionaires across the world in 2020 despite economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic. While many poor people became poorer, the number of millionaires increased by 5.2 million to 56.1 million globally. According to UN labour experts the economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic is expected to contribute to global unemployment of more than 200 million people next year, with women and youth workers worst-hit.

Oxfam tells us that 20 million more people have been pushed to extreme levels of hunger this year, reaching a total of 155 million people. The number of people living in famine-like conditions has increased sixfold since the pandemic to more than 520,000. 11 people are likely dying every minute from acute hunger, now outpacing COVID-19 fatalities. Because of COVID-19, 584 million children are falling behind in basic literacy skills, wiping out two decades of education gains.

By the end of last year China had lifted the remaining 99 million people out of poverty and it has now got rid of absolute poverty. China has an important role to play in helping other countries take their people out of poverty. Although some western democracies are critical of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), many of the projects funded by BRI are aimed at improving access to electricity, proper sanitation, sustainable food supplies, accessible and affordable public transport, as well as providing for millions of jobs through infrastructure development.

China understands only too well that the improvement of the wealth of poorer nations and creating a safer world environment is a great benefit not only for the world, but also for China. As nations improve their standards and the lifestyle of their citizens, they are less susceptible to bullying from the bigger players in world affairs. 

The world can only have a future if we do all we can to prevent it from descending into a new cycle of military confrontation. We must work relentlessly for peaceful coexistence among humankind and in the spirit of shared humanity respecting the principles of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.

While we work for the creation of wealth and its fair distribution, we must also work to create the conditions for political, social and economic human rights to reach every person on this planet. To be able to live in dignity every person must “enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want.” There should be no choice between being fed and unfree and free and unfed. To live in dignity, human beings need to be both free and fed.

The world has the resources, scientific advancement and enough technology to feed all the people, heal most diseases and educate billions of children. It is up to the politicians everywhere to decide whether knowledge and wealth is used to liberate or enslave people, for peace and prosperity or for war and misery.

As we navigate in uncharted waters in these uncertain times, Confucius has some wise advice for all of us, wherever we are, which we should follow: "Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."

"Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."

"It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get."

During the last 72 years, the progress China has achieved for its people is when it has done the good things that are difficult to achieve. May China uses its political, economic and technological power responsibly and wisely in the years to come for a better China and a better world where more and more people live in dignity, prosperity and peace.

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