China’s 70th Anniversary Celebrations are looming large, but this did not stop more than 500 people from all parts of China, including Guest of Honour, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. QIN Gang, from taking time out to gather in Beijing on the eve of September 20 to join in the celebrations of Malta’s 55th Anniversary of Independence.
The Imperial Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel was resplendently decked with red and white flowers proudly representing the colours of Malta’s flag.
Canvas backdrops of vibrant multicolored scenes illustrating the rich character of the Maltese Islands lined the hallway through which persons attending reached the ballroom.
Ambassadors, diplomats, spouses and partners, Chinese businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and members of the Maltese community in China comprised the large body of happy people celebrating.
Upon the arrival of H.E. Vice Minister QIN Gang and other senior Chinese Government officials, a friendly bilateral meeting was held during which the Vice Minister extended his personal congratulations to Ambassador John Aquilina on Malta’s 55th Anniversary of Independence. Following the brief meeting the Ambassador and the Vice Minister entered the main ballroom and mingled with the crowd.
At the appropriate moment the Ambassador called the large gathering to attention for the melodic renditions of the Maltese, European Union and Chinese anthems by the talented Chinese pianist Ms YANG Xiaoqi, a graduate from the elite Central Conservatory of Music.
The guests were then welcomed by a broadcast message from the Hon Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, who highlighted Malta’s past achievements and future prospects.
The Minister also expressed his gratitude to all the guests who joined in celebrating Malta Day, thanking them also for their interest in, and commitment to our country.
In his short address Ambassador John Aquilina extended the congratulations of H.E. President Dr George Vella, and the Hon Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on China’s forthcoming 70th Anniversary.
In reference to the recently celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival, the Ambassador alluded to the abundant harvest which has been reaped over the past 47 years since the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Malta and the People’s Republic of China.
In his speech H.E. Vice Minister QIN Gang centered on the transformation of China during these years, along with the changed dynamics in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
In referring to these excellent relations he emphasized China’s satisfaction that it felt that it could rely on its trusted European friend in times of need.
In accordance with Chinese custom, the Ambassador and Vice Minister then drank “a toast to Malta”, to the future wellbeing of both countries, and to the bond of friendship that unites Malta and China.
As the formalities concluded, the food was uncovered, the drinks were poured, and the gathering again began to mingle, with laughter and merriment lingering long into the night.