Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has said that China and Portugal have seen a “qualitative leap” in bilateral relations to the level that the People’s Republic currently enjoys with global economic powers such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
“It is a qualitative leap in bilateral terms at the level of world powers or countries of great European affirmation, and this is very significant,” said de Sousa at the start of his six-day visit to China, according to Portuguese news agency Lusa.
According to de Sousa, relations between Portugal and China are in an “excellent moment” and the relationship between his country and China has been elevated to “a political relationship at the level of countries such as France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, implying annual meetings between the Prime Ministers of the two states.”
He further characterized the nature of the relationship as “two-way cooperation, not only one” and, according to Lusa, challenged the analogy of a “Chinese invasion.”
de Sousa’s statements will resonate with the architects behind the Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure investment drive that seeks to reshape global trade flows with China at the center.
Bilateral relations between the Portuguese Republic and the People’s Republic of China were established just over 40 years ago, on February 8, 1979. However, the two nations can recall a history with roots stemming from the early 16th century.
Marking the 40th anniversary of formal relations, the Portuguese head of state is on an official visit to China that concludes this Tuesday and Wednesday with a two-day stop in the Macau SAR. While in the Chinese capital, de Sousa participated as a speaker in the Belt and Road Forum on Saturday.
Tomorrow, de Sousa will be welcomed by China’s president, Xi Jinping, who will bestow military honors on the Portuguese head of state at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. He will also meet with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
During his visit to Macau starting on Tuesday, de Sousa will meet with the SAR’s Chief Executive Chui Sai On. DB