Interview: Maltese minister expects to enhance Malta-China people-to-people exchanges

VALLETTA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Maltese education minister has said that he is looking forward to further strengthening people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between Malta and China in various fields as the two countries mark five decades of diplomatic relations this year.

In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, Clifton Grima recalled how the older generation of Chinese and Maltese leaders had made a "visionary decision" 50 years ago.

He said the friendship between Malta and China has continuously renewed its vigor ever since.

The "China Corner" of St. Margaret College Secondary School in Malta is "a certificate of the important and strong relations between Malta and China, showing our willingness to continue improving all the good things that we have done together during the past five decades," said Grima.

He added that this school is also "contributing positively to increasing knowledge about China among the Maltese youth and promoting the China-Malta friendship."

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, great achievements have been made in the people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between the two nations, such as the operation of the China Cultural Center and the Confucius Institute in Malta, and mutual visits of youth delegations, according to Grima.

He praised the vital role of the China Cultural Center in Malta in promoting understanding of Chinese culture, acting as a bridge between the two countries, and bringing closer not just people, but also the nations.

The two countries, although so far apart and so different in size, both have a rich history, distinct languages and unique traditions, Grima said, adding that "these are all important ingredients in nurturing friendship between China and Malta."

During the past 50 years, bilateral relations between China and Malta have moved steadily forward and served as "a shining example of relations between countries that differ in size, social system, history, and culture," he said.

The minister said he is satisfied with the ever-growing number of student exchanges. "We will work to intensify these efforts," he added.

Grima, also in charge of sports development in Malta, said he expected that sports education and athlete exchanges could be further intensified between the two countries.

"We truly live in a global village and the fact that our people can work together, want to work together, and are getting results is something which is truly encouraging for the future," he said.

Grima is looking forward to visiting China in the near future. "Such visits are fruitful ones with the end result being the benefit of the two countries and the people of the two countries," he said.

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