President Xi Jinping says China and Portugal are “entering the best period of their history”

5 December 2018

Relations between Portugal and China are “entering the best period of their history,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping, alongside Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in the first statements he made on his official visit to Portugal.

Xi praised the “pragmatic cooperation” between the two countries, which marks 40 years since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Portugal and China, adding that increasingly there are points of convergence between the two capitals, Lisbon and Beijing.

Rebelo de Sousa said that the two countries have “different institutions and allies,” “which does not prevent us from working together to add value to the international law role of the United Nations, nor for defending multilateralism, human rights and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, nor to support free trade and bridges of understanding between states and peoples.”

Economic ties have been strengthened in recent years, with companies in China investing around 10 billion euros since the financial crisis, but both Xi and Rebelo de Sousa have shown their intention to deepen relations at a political level.

At the meeting, Xi invited Rebelo de Sousa for a state visit in April 2019, during the second edition of the Belt and Road Initiative Forum, a set of infrastructure investment projects to connect China to Europe.

Among the key issues between the two countries is Portugal’s interest in a new type of Chinese investment, less focused on asset purchases and more on setting up companies, as well as on strengthening air links with the Portuguese government seeking the restoration of a direct link between Lisbon and Beijing as soon as possible. (macauhub)