China’s president, Xi Jinping, has highlighted “points of convergence and common interests” between his country and Portugal, in a speech at the official dinner hosted by his Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, at the Ajuda palace in Lisbon.
“The convergence points and common interests in deepening bilateral relations are constantly increasing, and the breadth and depth of our cooperation are unprecedented,” he stressed in the speech, as he stood alongside de Sousa at the event, which was held on Tuesday night.
At the beginning of the speech, a written version of which Lusa had access to, and after the formal thanks, the Chinese president highlighted the “history and long civilisation” and the “rich cultural heritage” of Portugal, and defined the Portuguese people as “hard-working, wise, open and “with an entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit” that contributes “to the progress of mankind and to the exchange between eastern and western cultures.”
Xi Jinping recalled the arrival of the Portuguese in China and Tomás Pereira, “who introduced in China Western studies and knowledge,” as well as José de Espinha, who “held the position of director of the astronomy department during the Qing dynasty” and the introduction into Europe by the Portuguese of “porcelain with heraldry”.
The Chinese leader also noted the importance of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1979, and the way that the two countries in 1999 “appropriately resolved the issue of Macau through friendly consultations,” as well as the establishment by the two countries in 2005 of a formal Global Strategic Partnership.
In his speech, the Chinese head of state welcomed the “enrichment of the strategic content of Sino-Portuguese relations”, the existence of “mutual political trust” and “pragmatic cooperation” in several areas.
Xi Jinping, after quoting a Chinese proverb and referring to “1001 ways to cook codfish” in Portugal, emphasized that the “ability to accept and learn everything that is good and to innovate based on that [is] in the genes of Chinese and Portuguese cultures”. He argued that “driving force originating that the Chinese and Portuguese have to create a bright future.”
Recalling the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations celebrated in 2019, the president of China wished “a good use of this opportunity” for “strengthening mutual political trust” and a “greater synergy between development strategies” within China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ project and a “new journey of development” in the bilateral partnership.
His speech ended with a toast “to the prosperity of the Portuguese Republic”, to “friendship between the peoples of Portugal and China”, to the “health” of President de Sousa and to “all friends present”.
China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday concludes a two-day state visit to Portugal with the signing of several bilateral agreements with Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa.
The Chinese president and his delegation are to be welcomed to parliament by the speaker, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, then is to travel on to the palace of Queluz, where he is to have a bilateral meeting with Costa.
Xi’s visit is the first by a Chinese head of state to Portugal since October 2010, when the then president, Hu Jintao, came to promote the bilateral partnership.