Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries on Friday.

Over the past four decades, China and Portugal have been promoting healthy and steady development of bilateral ties in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, Xi said.

Key facts
Photo: Key facts about China and Portugal

The two countries properly resolved the question of Macao in 1999, setting an example of resolving issues left over from the past through peaceful consultations, he noted.

China and Portugal established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2005, he added, underscoring their frequent high-level exchanges, deepening political mutual trust and fruitful outcomes in all areas since then.

Xi paid a state visit to Portugal in December last year. During the visit, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly advancing the construction of the Belt and Road.

Proposed by Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

Calling the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations a “new starting point” in bilateral ties, Xi said he is willing to make joint efforts with Rebelo de Sousa to bring the China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level to better benefit both countries and their peoples.

In his congratulatory message, Rebelo de Sousa said Portugal is proud of the long-term peaceful exchanges between the two countries and expressed his confidence that they will continue to develop long-term and stable friendly relations through unremitting efforts, firm determination and enthusiasm.

He said the smooth handover of Macao in 1999 had set a good example for the international community.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also exchanged Congratulatory messages with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Friday.

Li said China appreciates Portugal’s enthusiasm in Belt and Road cooperation, adding that China is willing to work together with Portugal to enhance practical cooperation in all areas.

Costa called on the two sides to deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership to benefit their peoples and make greater contributions to globalisation.