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Maltese president meets with commander of visiting 13th Chinese naval escort taskforce

By Ge Chen and Zhu Shaobin (China Military Online)

08:53, April 01, 2013

George Abela, president of Malta, met with Rear Admiral Li Xiaoyan, commander of the visiting 13th escort taskforce under the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) , and his party on March 27, 2013 at the presidential palace.

During the meeting, Abela reviewed the history of the contacts between Malta and China. He said that although the two countries are geographically far apart, the relations between their people are very close. The two sides have always been maintaining good relations as evidenced by frequent contacts with each other since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1970s. The Chinese government once dispatched workers to help the Maltese government build docks. Nowadays, the Chinese nationals and overseas Chinese living and working in Malta can also be well integrated into the local community.

Li Xiaoyan said in the meeting that both China and Malta have time-honored history and culture, brilliant chapter of valiantly resisting foreign invasion and safeguarding state sovereignty in history as well as common characteristic of loving peace. This visit is aimed at further promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two governments, the two peoples and the two militaries, strengthening mutual understanding, enhancing friendship, and constantly pushing forward the friendly relations to a new high.

When speaking of the escort experience, Li Xiaoyan said that the 13th Chinese naval escort taskforce has successfully escorted 166 commercial ships in 37 batches in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast since it set sail on November 9, 2012, with 9 of them being Maltese commercial ships.

After its visit to Malta, the 13th Chinese naval escort taskforce will also pay friendly visit to Algeria, Morocco, Portugal and France.

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