Sino-Maltese bilateral relations in the last 39 years

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Caruana, Christine
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University of Malta; DiploFoundation
After winning the general elections and took office in June 1971, Dom Mintoff found himself leading a country whose economy was in a huge crisis. National debts were soaring and so were the rates of unemployment. Realizing the seriousness of the state of the economy, Mintoff was determined to reverse the situation by increasing the country’s revenue. He demanded a revision of the military arrangements with Britian and on the 26th March 1972, a new agreement was signed with Britian. However, Mintoff knew that the Maltese economy could no longer rely soley on the British military bases and its Western allies and to the astonishment of everyone, in January 1972, he established bilateral relations with the Communist People’s Republic of China. Subsequently, China offered Malta a loan of £17 million which during the following years was used to carry out various infrastructural projects such as the ‘China-Malta Friendship Dock’ and the ‘Marsaxlokk Port Project’ which created new employment opportunities.The Sino-Maltese bilateral relations were not only crucial for economic growth but resulted also in various political and social developments. These relations were an important stepping stone towards Malta’s total political freedom obtained in 1979 and helped also to change the Maltese mentality from one of servitude and dependence to one of self-confidence and autonomy.