Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visits Portugal

8 December 2005

Lisbon, Portugal, 08 Dec – The Prime Minister of China, Wen Jiabao, is due to begin an official visit to Portugal Friday aimed at increasing diplomatic ties between the two countries, officials said.

China wants to its cooperation and understanding with Portugal and during the prime minister’s visit will officially grant Portugal the preferential status of global strategic partner, the Chinese authorities said when they announced the visit. In Europe the only other countries to have been given global strategic partner status are the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.

The status will mean that Portugal will be treated preferentially by Chinese diplomats and that bilateral relations will be increased.

Officials have also said that China is looking for Portugal’s support in lifting the military embargo imposed on it by the European Union in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square incidents.

Wen Jiabao’s two-day visit to Portugal follows visits to France, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He is due to meet with Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates to sign the joint statement that establishes the partnership and discuss other bilateral agreements.

The two prime ministers are also expected to discuss issues such as immigration and Chinese textiles in Europe, the relationship between China and Portuguese-speaking African countries, particularly in terms of investments, according to the official schedule.

After the meeting the two prime ministers will sign a number of bilateral agreements – for cooperation in legal matters, health, reciprocal protection of investments, teaching of Chinese and Portuguese – and corporate agreements – memoranda of understanding and cooperation agreements between the molding, communications and technology sectors.

Statistical data from the Chinese authorities shows that bilateral trade between Portugal and China in the first half of 2005 totaled US$908 million (768.3 million euros). (macauhub)

The last official meeting between Portuguese and Chinese authorities was when Portugal’s President Jorge Sampaio visited China last January.

On the Chinese side, it has been 13 years since a Chinese prime minister has visited Portugal. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH