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MEDIUM TERM COOPERATION PLAN Agreed Minutes of the First Steering Committee Meeting between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Malta
2018/09/14

Following the commitment made by H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, and the Hon. Dr Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of the Republic of Malta, during their meeting in Dalian on 11 September 2013, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two sides on 9 July 2014 on a Medium-Term Cooperation Plan (2014-2019), State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, H.E. Wang Yi, held talks with Hon. Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion of the Republic of Malta, and Assistant Minister Zhang Hanhui of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People 's Republic of China co-hosted the first session of the Steering Committee of the Medium Term Cooperation Plan with Hon. Carmelo Abela.

Both Parties noted with satisfaction the excellent status of bilateral relations existing between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations more than 45 years ago, emphasized that both Parties should further unleash cooperation potential, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation across the board, and reinforce the longstanding relations and bonds of friendship between the two countries.

Both Parties attached importance to the leading role of high-level exchanges in promoting bilateral relations and agreed to maintain high-level exchanges, enhance political mutual trust, and respect each other's core interests and major concerns.

In the context of the current international situation, both Parties reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and expressed their willingness to jointly advance world multi-polarization, strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral and regional mechanisms, promote multilateralism based on international law and norms of international relations, oppose all forms of unilateralism and protectionism, uphold the multilateral trading system, make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and mutually beneficial, forge a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. The ministries of foreign affairs of both countries will strengthen communication and coordination on international and regional issues.

Both Parties recognized the positive role played by the Steering Committee for the planning, promotion and coordination of bilateral relations. They have agreed as follows:

1. Belt and Road Cooperation

Malta welcomes and supports China's Belt and Road Initiative. Both Parties agree to explore the possibility of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments on Belt and Road Cooperation. Both Parties emphasized their willingness to support cooperation between enterprises of the two countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative to achieve win-win results. Areas of cooperation may include infrastructure, energy, science and technology, public health, environment and sustainability, education, culture, tourism and financial service, among others. Both Parties are willing to further strengthen cooperation under the framework of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

2. Commerce and Trade

Both Parties stressed the function of China-Malta Joint Trade and Economic Commission to plan, guide and coordinate bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Both Parties will strengthen their cooperation in infrastructure, telecommunication, finance, tourism, aerospace and aviation. The Chinese side will continue to encourage its indigenous companies to expand its investment to Malta and welcome the export of Malta's high-quality products to China.

3. Energy

The National Energy Commission of China and the Ministry for Energy and Water Management of Malta agreed to deepen cooperation in the following two areas, for the mutual benefit of the two sides.

a) Distributed utility-scale battery storage possibly with centralized monitoring and control, and

b) Industrial scale pilot project for offshore floating solar or wind.

Both projects aim to develop effective solutions for Malta but also offer opportunities for scalability and commercialization within the EU market and beyond.

4. Infrastructure Construction

Both Parties discussed the possibility that competent authorities in both countries responsible for infrastructure projects share expertise and the transfer of knowledge in this domain besides collaborating on projects. To this end, Infrastructure Malta expressed the wish to forge effective alliances with Chinese organizations engaged in the design and building of multi-level intersections, tunnels and other complex structures, the development of longer-lasting road surfacing techniques and materials, the introduction of innovative alternative transport infrastructure in existing arterial road links as well as the adoption of advanced ICT platforms for the planning and evaluation of the country's future infrastructural investments.

5. Financial Services

Both Parties will encourage their respective financial institutions to strengthen exchanges and cooperation, provide financing support and financial services for production capacity, investment and trade cooperation, and promote mutual establishment of financial actors between the two countries.

Malta encourages to strengthen bilateral cooperation in both banking and insurance, and welcomes Chinese financial institutions, namely banks, insurances companies and companies operating in the Fintech sector, to establish office in Malta. China welcomed banks and insurance companies from Malta that comply with relevant Chinese laws and regulations to establish institutions and carry out business in China, or invest in Chinese banks and insurance companies. Meanwhile, China looked forward to signing a Memorandum of Understanding with supervisory counterparts in Malta and strengthen bilateral supervisory cooperation.

6. Maritime Cooperation

The Ministry for Tourism of Malta proposed possible cooperation in fields including marine bio technology and blue economy development with the Ministry of Natural Resources of China with a view to further enhancing the ongoing negotiations on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Natural Resources of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry for Tourism of the Republic of Malta on the Establishment of a Blue Partnership. In this regard, both Parties expressed their wish to conclude this Memorandum of Understanding at the earliest possible date.

7. Public Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Malta began Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) cooperation with China in 1983. The Mediterranean Regional Center of TCM was jointly established in Malta in 1994. As of now, the TCM center has accumulatively treated more than 200,000 patients, generating broad and positive effects in Malta and Europe at large. Given the 35-year productive collaborations, both Parties will bolster support to the Mediterranean Regional Center of TCM, encourage cooperation and exchanges among the medical and health care facilities of both Parties, and constantly expand TCM services in more areas, benefiting more patients in Malta.

8. Aviation and Tourism

Both Parties discussed the possibility that the Maltese national airline, Air Malta, explores the option of initiating commercial cooperation with Chinese airlines, exploiting their advantages in technology particularly in telecommunications, data storage and infrastructure.

Both Parties, whilst recalling the Air Service Agreement signed on 1 September 1997, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding between the Aeronautical Authorities of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Malta signed on 12 December 2014, agreed to explore the possibility, outlined in the above mentioned Memorandum, of establishing a direct air connectivity between the two countries to facilitate cargo logistics and improve tourism.

Both Parties discussed tourism opportunities and emphasized the importance of enhancing their respective tourism sectors, especially through hospitality education.

Both Parties discussed the opportunities of cooperation to promote the tourism attractions and cultural heritage of the respective countries in each other's state media with the objective of increasing knowledge and awareness of the two destinations amongst the residents of China and Malta.

9. Aquaculture

Both Parties recognized the mutual benefits of aquaculture cooperation, will continue discussion on the establishment of a China-Malta Joint Research Center in Aquaculture. Malta's highly developed offshore cage aquaculture systems are a stepping stone to the development of new technologies that could help aquaculture flourish in offshore seas with a minimal impact on the environment and tourism.

Furthermore, since Malta is at the forefront in the development of spawning techniques of different marine species with trials on blue-fin tuna, amberjacks, meagre, red scorpion-fish with other marine species in the pipeline, both Parties acknowledged their common interest in pursuing aquaculture species diversification.

Discussions focused also on the possibility that, since Malta has adopted a strategy valid till 2025 that focuses on the sustainability as a priority, such expertise be used to contribute towards China's sustainability plans.

10. Education

Both Parties expressed their satisfaction to the achievements in educational cooperation and exchanges, and reaffirmed their commitment to actively provide necessary support to the ongoing and new educational cooperation between the two countries.

Both Parties appreciated the important role the Confucius Institute plays in the strengthening of cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries, and agreed to extend continuous support to the development of the Confucius Institute in the University of Malta as well as the establishment of new Confucius Classrooms. The Chinese Government will continue to organize the "Chinese Bridge" summer camps and the Confucius Institute Scholarship programs, support the training of Maltese local Chinese language teachers and provide Chinese learning materials etc., to better serve the cause of Chinese language learning in Malta. Malta will take the initiative to encourage primary and secondary schools to put Chinese language courses into their curriculums and incorporate Chinese language learning into the national education system.

Both Parties expressed their satisfaction to the cooperation between the University of Malta and Chinese universities, namely, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Xiamen University, Soochow University, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SHUTCM), Shanghai Maritime University and Hainan University, and agreed to encourage further collaboration between the University of Malta and new educational partners in China such as the Shanghai International Studies University.

11. Cultural Cooperation

Both Parties agreed to continue increasing cultural exchanges, mostly among Chinese and Maltese youths.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government of the Republic of Malta signed on 30 May 2016 on Jointly Supporting Intercultural Exchanges and Cooperation between the East Asia City of Culture and the European City of Culture (Valletta 2018) expires on 31 December 2018. Both Parties acknowledged the fruitful cultural exchange and cooperation under this Memorandum of Understanding, and shall work together towards the conclusion of the proposed draft Programme of Cultural Exchanges (2019-2022) as the follow-up of the Memorandum of Understanding.

The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government of Malta, whilst recognizing the China Cultural Center's contribution to the enhancement of Malta-China mutual understanding and friendship, as well as its support towards the Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture, pledged to continue participating and supporting events organized by the China Cultural Center in Malta.

12. Sport and People-to-People Exchanges

Both Parties agreed on the importance of sport to increase people-to-people exchanges. In view of the fact that China will be hosting the 24th Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2022 and Malta will be hosting the 20th Small States of Europe Games in 2023, both Parties agreed to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between their national sport authorities and sports associations. The details will be discussed and decided by the national sport authorities and sports associations of the Parties.

13. Film and TV Cooperation

Both sides agreed to promote exchanges and cooperation in the film, radio and television sectors and are interested in further exploring possibilities of broadcasting each other's programs, co-producing programs, exchanging visits and developing exchanges on broadcasting technology.

The Malta Film Commission would be interested in exploring possibilities of Networking and exchanging technical skills in the film sector with their Chinese counterparts especially from an artistic point of view and exploring possibilities of having workshops in place with the Chinese from well-established directors.

Both sides also updated each other on the ratification process of the bilateral Film Co-production Agreement between the Government of China and the Government of Malta signed in Beijing on 27 July 2015. Each side will notify the other side through diplomatic channels following the completion of the necessary legal procedures required for the bringing into force of the said Agreement.

Signed in Beijing on 13 September 2018, in duplicate in Chinese and English, both texts being equally authentic.

H.E. Wang Yi Hon. Carmelo Abela
State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion of the Republic of Malta

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