Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping was in Malta for a two-day official visit between Saturday February 21st 2009 and Sunday 22nd.
During his time in Malta Mr. Xi held talks with the Prime Minister, Dr. Lawrence Gonzi. He also had meetings with various individuals including the Acting President, Dr. George Hyzler and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Louis Galea.
In comments which Vice President Xi made during talks with the Prime Minister on Sunday, he said that he hoped to continue to augment Sino-Maltese co-operation in order to pursue tangible results. This was especially necessary in view of the challenges which had been created by the global financial crisis.
Prime Minister Gonzi and Vice President Xi attended the signing ceremony for a number of bilateral co-operation agreements. These included a treaty on mutual judicial assistance in criminal matters, an agreement on co-operation in combating transnational crime, a programme of cultural exchanges, an agreement on the mutual promotion and protection of investments and an agreement on the establishment of a Malta Confucius Institute to promote Chinese language and culture. The Prime Minister and Mr. Xi also witnessed the signing of a grant agreement wherein the Chinese government made a gift to Malta equivalent to approx €580,000, to be used on projects undertaken in collaboration with China’s Ministry of Commerce. Following the ceremony, Prime Minister Gonzi hosted a luncheon in honour of Mr Xi at the Auberge de Castille.
While meeting with Dr. Hyzler, Mr. Xi expressed satisfaction with the state of Sino-Maltese relations, saying that the frequency of visits by senior officials on both sides, extended co-operation on a wide range of matters and exchanges in such fields as culture and education augured well for the future. He added that the two nations are "old friends and good friends" that have stood the test of time.
Dr. Hyzler thanked China for the assistance it had extended to Malta and congratulated Mr. Xi on China’s achievements during its modernisation process, while noting that the bilateral relationship between China and Malta continued to be based on co-operation.
During his first day in Malta, the Chinese Vice President also met with former President Dr. Guido de Marco and Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat.
Malta was the final leg of Mr. Xi's six-nation tour, which also took him to Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.