Opinion: Portuguese president calls Sino-Portuguese relations ‘irreplaceable’
Updated 18:02, 07-Dec-2018
CGTN’s The Point

The relationship between China and Portugal is a kind of “brotherhood” which is “irreplaceable,” Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has said. “It is something very special.”

“We have traditional allies,” Rebelo de Sousa told CGTN's The Point (@thepointwithlx). “But with China… we are complementary.”

In understanding the difference, the president reasoned that Portugal found China's civilization and culture “long lasting and very rich.” He said that the two countries have lived together for five hundred years and both understood each other “very well,” referring to the Portuguese settlement in Macao since the mid-16th century.

Macao was the first – also the last – European holding in China. The former colony returned to China as a Special Administrative Region under China's “One Country, Two Systems” in 1999.

Rebelo de Sousa described his experience being a lecturer in law and political science in Macao as “unique and fascinating.” He believed that “Macao was never considered to be a Portuguese colony, because it was Chinese.”

The comments came just ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the country on Tuesday. It is President Xi's final stop in his four-nation tour after state visits to Spain, Argentina and Panama, as well as attending the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

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In a joint declaration signed by all G20 nations on Saturday, leaders voiced support for “necessary reforms” of the World Trade Organization. It came at a time when the U.S. is threatening to withdraw from the global trade multilateralism.

Rebelo de Sousa also believed that the world is undergoing a “geo-strategic change” through which there is “no single super power.”

“This multi-polar world requires multilateralism,” the president noted. He suggested that Portugal is “very good” at building multilateralism as the country has been at the heart of the Portuguese-speaking community worldwide and many Portuguese are leaders in multilateralism groups.

Rebelo de Sousa said Portugal has witnessed an increasing presence in the number of Chinese, adding that the partnership between Portugal and China could promote that “presence” not only in Europe but also in Latin America and Africa.

Speaking of China's investment in his country, he dismissed outside doubts of an “invasion,” saying his government is looking for “strong” investment from China and Chinese investors are also anticipating Portugal's economic recovery.

“That's the lesson of the facts,” the president said. “We want more investment” and that includes China's Belt and Road Initiative.

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