BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that China is ready to join hands with Malta to push for greater development of China-Malta relations as the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties approaches.
Xi made the remarks in a phone conversation with Maltese President George Vella, during which the two heads of state exchanged new year greetings.
China and Malta are old and good friends that have stood the test of time, Xi said, adding that the older generation of leaders of the two countries, with great vision, jointly forged the friendly China-Malta relationship half a century ago.
Over the past 50 years, no matter how the international situation changes, relations between the two countries have always maintained sound and steady development, with their friendship deepening continuously and cooperation in various fields yielding fruitful results, he added.
Xi noted that in the face of such challenges as the international financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have always helped and supported each other.
The China-Malta relationship, he said, has become a model of relations between countries that are different in size, social system, history and culture.
On further promoting bilateral ties, Xi suggested that the two sides uphold mutual respect and trust, and continue to respect and support each other's development path, and maintain communication and coordination on issues of mutual concern.
Xi called for joint efforts to deepen practical cooperation, advance Belt and Road cooperation, and expand cooperation in key areas including economy, trade, investment, health care, clean energy, transportation and logistics.
The two countries should also step up cultural exchanges and cooperation in traditional Chinese medicine, and expand exchanges and cooperation in such fields as education, youth and tourism, so as to foster more driving forces for China-Malta friendship, Xi said.
Noting that Malta has always been a positive force in advancing relations between China and the European Union (EU), Xi said China is ready to work with Malta to uphold the general direction of China-EU cooperation and promote the sound and steady development of China-EU relations.
China will host the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games next month, and now preparations have basically completed, Xi stressed.
With the support of the international community, he added, China will host the games in a simple, safe and wonderful fashion, carry forward the Olympic spirit, and encourage all countries to join hands for the future.
China is ready to work with Malta and other members of the international community to practice true multilateralism and jointly promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.
For his part, Vella expressed his pleasure to have a phone conversation with Xi in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, and said he fully agrees with Xi's positive comments on the Malta-China relationship and views on its development.
Since establishing diplomatic ties, the two countries have carried out fruitful cooperation, with their friendship having withstood the tests of COVID-19 and other challenges, he noted.
Bilateral relations, he added, have become increasingly mature and scored remarkable achievements, setting a good model of relations between countries.
He said Malta is firmly committed to further developing its friendly relations with China, and is ready to work with China to strengthen high-level exchanges and deepen practical cooperation in various fields.
Malta cherishes the precious opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative, and is ready to continue to advance related cooperation with China, he added.
Vella said he hopes that Malta-China relations will develop even better in the next 50 years and bring more benefits to the people in both countries.
Malta firmly adheres to the one-China policy and firmly supports multilateralism, he said, adding that his country is ready to play a positive role in promoting the development of EU-China relations.
Malta, he said, highly appreciates China's vaccine assistance to the international community in fighting COVID-19 and its positive contribution to the global battle against climate change, and looks forward to closer cooperation with China.
The Maltese president also wished the Beijing Winter Olympics a smooth success.