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Wang Yi: Jointly Building the "Belt and Road" to Elevate China-Portugal Relations to New Stages

On May 18, 2018 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva of Portugal jointly met the press after their talks in Lisbon.

Wang Yi said that though China and Portugal, lying respectively on the east and west end of Eurasia, are tens of thousands of miles apart from each other, the two countries and the two peoples have already been connected by their time-honored friendly exchanges. Recent years, in particular, have seen the two sides uphold the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win results, work hand in hand to respond to the challenges brought by the international financial crisis and promote the realization of leapfrog development of bilateral cooperation in economy, trade and investment, which has strongly boosted the comprehensive development of bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields and brought tangible benefits to the two peoples. At present, China and Portugal enjoy increasingly closer bilateral exchanges in various fields. The teaching of Chinese language sets off a craze in Portugal and so does the Portuguese language teaching in China. Portuguese wine and specialties make their way to the dining tables of more and more Chinese families. Quality products made in China have their presence in and are widely welcomed and enjoyed by tens of thousands of Portuguese households. We are pleased with the progress achieved in China-Portugal relations and have full confidence in the future development of bilateral relations.

Wang Yi expressed that next year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Portugal, which is an important time coordinate for the development of bilateral relations. Both sides agreed to seize the opportunity to expand cooperation and elevate China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership to new stages. Both sides will enhance high-level exchanges and make concerted efforts to ensure the complete success of high-level visits agreed by both sides. Both sides should maintain regular exchanges and policy communication in various circles including the governments, parliaments, and political parties of the two countries, constantly increase mutual trust, and always respect and support each other's core interests so as to build a solid political foundation and guarantee for the development of bilateral relations.

Both sides stand ready to become significant cooperation partners in the joint building of the "Belt and Road". The Chinese side commends the Portuguese side for its consistent understanding of and support for the "Belt and Road" initiative. Portugal enjoys an advantageous geographical location. China stands ready to, together with Portugal, actively discuss and conclude the "Belt and Road" intergovernmental cooperation documents, integrate the "Belt and Road" with national development strategies of Portugal, and turn Portugal into an important hub for the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, so as to open up new prospects for and inject new impetus into China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership. China attaches great importance to the establishment of "blue partnership" between the two countries proposed by Portugal. The two sides can include this proposal into the scope of the joint building of the "Belt and Road" and discuss and advance concrete cooperation in such relevant fields as ocean, and people-to-people and cultural engagement.

The two sides will continue to elevate the level of economic and trade investment. Portugal is one of the most open and inclusive countries for attracting foreign investment in Europe. In recent years, the mutual investment between China and Portugal has been constantly increased, becoming a symbol as well as a highlight of bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation. China will continue to encourage enterprises to conduct more regulated and sustainable investment. At the same time, Portuguese enterprises are welcome to seek business opportunities in China. Both sides could jointly build a sample for country-to-country investment and cooperation and give play to the demonstration effect of mutual benefit and win-win results. China is willing to, together with Portugal, achieve advantage complementarities and further expand the third-party cooperation in Africa, Latin America and other regions. Meanwhile, China stands ready to expand import of agricultural products from Portugal and explore cooperation in energy, finance, and other areas.

Wang Yi expressed that the current international situation faces increasing uncertain and unstable factors, and protectionism is on the rise. Both sides agreed to strengthen strategic communication and coordination, jointly promote the process of multilateralism, and safeguard the international trade order and system with the rules of the World Trade Organization at the core, so as to build an open world economy. Portugal is an important member of the European Union (EU). China hopes that the Portuguese side will continue to play an active and constructive role in China-EU economic, trade and investment cooperation and make even greater contributions to the constant expansion of cooperation, proper management of differences, and enhancement of strategic mutual trust between China and the EU.

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