Portuguese prime minister to make official visit to China at the beginning of 2007

5 September 2006

Beijing, China, 05 September – Portuguese prime minister, José Sócrates, is expected to make an official visit to China in the first quarter of 2007, the secretary of state of the Portuguese communities said in Beijing Monday.

“The prime minister’s visit will take place between the months of February and March of next year,” said António Braga in an interview with Portuguese news agency Lusa in Beijing, on the first day of an official seven-day visit to China.

Braga said that Sócrates “will certainly make another visit,” to China in the second half of 2007, when Portugal takes on the presidency of the European Union (EU), which is currently in the hands of Finland.

Chinese diplomatic sources contacted by Lusa said that the agenda and exact dates of Sócrates’ visit were still subject to change.

Braga, who Wednesday is scheduled to open the Portuguese Consulate-General in Shanghai, met Tuesday with Chinese Foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, with deputy Foreign minister, Kong Quan and with Jiang Enzhu, the president of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese National People’s Assembly, the country’s parliament.

One of the issues to be discussed at the meeting, according to Braga, was the potential opening up of an air route between Portugal and the People’s Republic of China under a code-share agreement between Portuguese air carrier TAP and Air China.

“We are still working on the final draft of the deal and taking the first steps (…) to then make a more wide-ranging deal to carry out direct flights between Portugal and china,” he said. (macauhub)