China welcomes Portugal joining the “Belt and Road” initiative

24 April 2019

China “deeply appreciates” Portugal’s participation in the “Belt and Road” initiative, as one of the first countries in Western Europe to become part of the international Chinese strategy, according to an official statement sent to Portugal’s Lusa news agency.

The initiative, described by Chinese President Xi Jinping as the “project of the century,” and which has already been included in the country’s constitution, encompasses a network of railways and roads linking western China to Europe and the Indian Ocean, crossing Russia and Central Asia, while a network of ports in Africa and the Mediterranean will strengthen the maritime links of cities along the Chinese coast.

Along the way, airports, power stations and free trade zones will be built, redesigning the map of the world economy and bringing in a “new era,” in which China will be at the centre of the world order, the agency reported.

In the statement, China highlights the “very relevant” position of Portugal in the far west of Eurasia, suggesting coordination with Lisbon, which wants the inclusion of an Atlantic route in the Chinese project, allowing the port of Sines to connect the routes of the Far East to the Atlantic Ocean and thus benefit from the widening of the Panama Canal.

“The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Portugal within the scope of the ‘Belt and Road’ has established a solid foundation for the development of the initiative,” the statement said.

Recalling that China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit to Lisbon last December “has raised relations to a new level,” the Chinese authorities consider that Portugal is “a positive example,” of cooperation between China and Europe.

“Portugal is one of the first countries in Western Europe to sign a cooperation document under the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative,” said the statement sent to the Portuguese news agency. (Macauhub)