Chinese ambassador to Portugal suggests joint establishment of “economic belt” in Europe

4 June 2015

Portugal should establish an “economic belt” in Europe in partnership with China, said Wednesday in Lisbon the Chinese ambassador to Portugal, during the celebrations of the tenth anniversary of the two-way strategic partnership between the countries.

“We believe that Portugal, positioned in the centre of the sea route from the Atlantic, may have an essential role to play in setting up belts for a route in Europe,” said ambassador Huang Songfu in a speech in Portuguese, in the presence of Portugal’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Rui Machete .

“We invite Portugal to take this opportunity and to explore along with China the possibility of cooperation within the framework of a belt and a road, thus promoting our pragmatic cooperation to benefit our two populations,” he said.

According to Portuguese news agency Lusa, the Chinese diplomat was a guest at the inaugural session of the institutional colloquium to mark 10 years of the strategic partnership between Portugal and China held Wednesday at the Portuguese parliamentary building.

“Sino-Portuguese relations are at a new starting point with new opportunities. The Chinese side is willing to develop dynamic cooperation in all areas,” said the Chinese ambassador, after pointing out that China had recently presented to the international community “the initiative in the economic belt of the Silk Road and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route.”

A belt and a road, he said, to intensify “cooperation between Asia and Europe and in the areas of construction, infrastructure, transport, investment, trade, culture and other areas.”

In his speech, the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Rui Machete, had already stressed the “excellent political and diplomatic relations between Portugal and China,” the “successful transfer of the administration of the territory of Macau, and in which “the economic sector” is taking on increasing importance.

The Portuguese minister also pointed out the interest from both sides in conducting “three-way cooperation experiences, particularly within the scope of the CPLP [Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries] and the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.”

“This platform known as Macau Forum, has established itself as a privileged connection point between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, enhancing strategic cooperation with growing political and commercial importance,” noted Machete. (macauhub/CN/MO/PT)