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Malta's new ambassador to China aims to bolster the "strong and solid" relations between the two countries by enhancing cooperation in various fields such as education, culture, tourism and trade.

Ahead of the start of his mission in Beijing next week, John Busuttil, currently director for Global Issues at the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade in Valletta, told Xinhua in an interview that he planned to strengthen the ongoing work, not just bilaterally, but also in relations between China and the European Union, to contribute to international peace and security.

China and Malta last year celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on Jan. 31, 1972. Since then, both countries have deeply benefitted from various avenues of bilateral collaboration, signing over 60 agreements dealing with a multitude of issues including trade, culture, transport, and energy, he said.

This long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship has been strengthened by various high-level meetings, he said. Malta's term on the UN Security Council for the period 2023-2024 should provide further opportunities for high-level engagement.

He said he was pleasantly surprised at the plethora of cultural initiatives being undertaken. The Chinese Embassy in Malta and the China Cultural Centre are very active and have been invaluable to the effort of enhancing Malta-China relations on a political, cultural, and socio-economic level, he said.

"I am planning to continue building on this foundation of excellent bilateral relations. I am looking forward to enhancing increased cooperation and understanding to further bolster ongoing work," he said.

Busuttil praised China for being one of the first developing countries to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Most targets were met or exceeded in advance, including for poverty, hunger, illiteracy," he said, adding: "It is important that China's contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals be as big as it was for the MDGs."

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