The governments of Portugal and China on Wednesday issued a joint statement backing the action of the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, rejecting economic protectionism and unilateralism, and calling for human rights to be upheld.
The 21-point document was released moments before Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, presided at the palace of Queluz over the signing of a set of bilateral agreements.
“The two parties expressed support for an open world economy and repudiated all forms of protectionism and unilateralism, committing themselves to promote the liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment under the rules of the multilateral trade system,” reads the joint declaration, which also highlights Guterres’s role.
Portugal and China express their support “for the reform of the United Nations system in order to increase its authority and efficiency” and add that “reform should reflect the principle of openness and transparency, listening extensively to the views of member countries and seeking broad consensus through full consultation.
“The two parties underlined their support for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General in this context,” it went on.
In the part on international security and multilateralism, there is also a direct reference to the issue of human rights.
“The two parties reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism, in defending the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, to support the strengthening of the role of the United Nations in the international community, in maintaining international peace and security, in the promotion of sustainable development and in the protection of human rights,” it states.
Another significant aspect is China’s support for the process of European integration, with the document expressly stating that it “assessed as very positive the important role that Portugal plays in safeguarding stability and boosting the integration of the European Union.”
Meanwhile, China expresses its “appreciation” for the fact that Portugal has reaffirmed its “continued adherence to the ‘one China’ principle, as well as [its] support for the Chinese position on the question of Taiwan.”
On climate change, Portugal and China promise commitment and coordination to deal with the challenge.
In the field of bilateral relations, the two governments diagnose a climate of “increasingly strengthened mutual political trust, consolidated in fruitful results of cooperation in the sectors of economics and trade, investment, energy, finance, culture, education, science and technology, justice, transport and security, among others.”
Against that background, the countries say that they have made a series of commitments to “raise the level of development of relationships and lead the Global Strategic Partnership Portugal-China to new heights”.
The joint declaration also mentions that Portugal “welcomed and expressed its interest in participating in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, and that the two countries undertake in various economic sectors” to ease the importation of qualified products and services, and to continue to encourage and support their companies to invest” in the other country.
“The Portuguese side welcomes the interest of Chinese companies in investing and creating factories in Portugal and in exploring together with their Portuguese counterparts European markets, as well as others,” one of the economic sections states.