Portuguese President’s visit to China bolsters Forum Macau and cooperation with other countries

Cooperation between China and Portugal in third markets and the role of Forum Macau were underscored during the official visit of the Portuguese president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa to China, concluded on Wednesday in Macau.

“There is the aim of giving more strength to Forum Macau, which is something that has made a lot of sense in all the meetings, especially with the delegation led by [Chinese] President Xi Jinping,” said Rebelo de Sousa in Beijing in the first stage of his visit to China.

The Portuguese president also underlined the willingness of the Chinese government to focus on the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, adding that one of the possible routes, “can and should be Forum Macau.”

Rebelo de Sousa was one of the heads of state who took part in the 2nd Belt and Road Forum and took the floor on 27 April at the 3rd working session on sustainable development and implementation of the 2030 UN Agenda.

In Beijing, he dined with some of the presidents of top Chinese groups with interests in Portugal and the next day hosted a dinner for the biggest Portuguese exporters to the Chinese market.

At the conclusion of the Beijing stage, the Portuguese president met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and his counterpart Xi Jinping on 29 April together with their respective delegations.

At the time, bilateral agreements were signed, notably, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Portugal and China for the Establishment of a Strategic Dialogue, replacing the previous Strategic Partnership established in 2005.

Under the new memorandum, Portugal and China will hold regular political consultations on bilateral and international policy issues and increase contacts between government authorities, with mutual visits once a year, alternately in China and in Portugal, at the foreign minister level.

In Beijing, a framework agreement on trade cooperation in third markets was also signed by the Portuguese Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade (AICEP) and China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation and a protocol with the Confucius Institute on cooperation for teaching Mandarin in Portuguese secondary schools.

Following a visit to Shanghai, where he met with the local Portuguese community, and then in Macau, Rebelo de Sousa highlighted the agreement in the area of language, as being among the main results of his visit.

“Concrete steps have been taken in an area that is strategic and therefore the future – the Portuguese language and education – but also in another strategic area that is economy and finance, at a time when Macau celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the transfer of administration from Portugal to China,” the Portuguese head of state said.

“It is most important to focus on education, the Portuguese language, Portuguese culture, Mandarin and its teaching in Portuguese schools and cultural exchange because this has medium and long-term effects on many generations than the many important steps taken in economic and financial matters,” he said during his visit.

By the end of the year, he said, 48 Chinese universities will be teaching Portuguese. (Macauhub)