Dialogue and a common understanding are key to China-Portugal ties as the two countries enjoy a vast space of cooperation, Portuguese Ambassador to China Jose Augusto Duarte said in an interview over the weekend.
Duarte shared his view on the bilateral ties and future prospects of cooperation along with China’s development under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The ambassador extended his congratulations to China as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of CPC, the ruling party of the world’s second-largest economy for more than 70 years.
“It’s quite an achievement, I mean, especially when you compare what was China in 1949 and what is China nowadays, with the reform and opening up that is indispensable to know, to understand why China is now in the position that they are economically and politically in the world. My point is not to be judgmental, but to be willing and open to learning from the experience,” he said.
Since China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, which refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, more than 140 countries and international organizations including Portugal have signed documents on cooperation under the initiative and substantial progress has been made in a large number of key projects.
“Yes, it’s true, we were on the first subscribers. We see that as a positive initiative, to create more dynamic in the world, to create competitiveness, which is a good thing. I mean, which is a good thing for us. So we saw that as a positive contribution as other initiatives that would come from different parts of the world,” the ambassador said.
“Of course, the economy is very important. Of course, the economy is the muscle of a relationship. But for us, it’s the structure. At heart it’s a bit less materialistic, so the dialogue and common understanding is the key element. So if we can have a better economic relationship in ties with China, the better for everybody. But the most important element and crucial element is a common understanding that we have,” he said.
Looking ahead, Duarte said he hopes for more cooperation between the two countries giving one prominent field of electric vehicles based on the benefits from a previous collaboration.
“Some of the most important Chinese investments in Portugal are precisely in the electric system. I mean we have Chinese investments in electricity production and electricity distribution in Portugal. In our point of view, one good example of this cooperation could be the production of electric cars. China is quite developed indeed, and we are quite open and quite willing to cooperate with China. And by the way, we produce almost 50 percent of our electricity is renewable. It’s renewable sources and China is also involving a lot in that. So this is a specific example where we could work together for a common good,” he said.