Oct. 22, 2018 –Portugal and China are finishing details a Memorandum of Understanding on Portugal’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative initiated by China, focused on investment in infrastructure, Portugal’s Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva announced Oct. 20 from Macau, China. He did not give details, but he emphasized the role which Portugal’s deepwater port on the Atlantic, Sines, can play in the Belt and Road, because of its strategic location for connecting with the continents of Africa, the Americas, and Eurasia. Sines is Europe’s closest port to the now-expanded Panama Canal, he pointed out in making the announcement.
At the same time, Santos Silva announced that President Xi Jinping’s long-planned state visit to Portugal is now set for Dec. 4-5. He did not say whether the MOU will signed during that visit, but Portugal is eager to get to work on the project. Today, in meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, Silva Santos emhasized that Portugal “is willing to work with China, ready to further implement China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and become a hub linking Europe and Asia through land and sea,” CGTN reported.
Portugal’s Foreign Minister is visiting China from Oct. 19-23, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Internationalization, and other top officials. Their trip has taken them from Guangdong, to Macau, and now Beijing, where they will meet with Wang Yi, senior diplomat Yang Jiechi from the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC’s Central Committee, and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, and take part in the tenth Joint China-Portugal Economic and Trade Committee Meeting.
Interest is also growing in Portugal’s neighbor, Spain. President Xi Jinping will visit Spain for talks with government officials Nov. 27-28, Spain’s Foreign Ministry announced in September.