China and Portugal are strengthening bilateral co-operation regarding the Belt and Road initiative, Xinhua reported yesterday.
During his first official visit to Portugal, Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), said in a meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa that Portugal is a strategic propeller for the development of the Belt and Road project given its ideal geographic location.
Claiming that Portugal is an active supporter of the initiative, the Portuguese Prime Minister said that the country welcomes more investment from Chinese companies, and will provide a fair and more convenient business environment for them.
Costa added that Portugal is ready to deepen co-operation with China in several areas, including energy, agricultural goods and infrastructure, as well as culture, education and tourism.
During the visit held between Monday and Wednesday of this week, Zhang also met with Portugal’s President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Portuguese counterpart Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues.
China’s top legislator, and third highest ranked Chinese official, told Rodrigues China’s NPC is willing to elevate co-operation between both countries’ legislative bodies, as well as pushing forward their strategic partnership, China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two parliamentary institutions, according to O Público.

Airborne
A celebration was also held during Zhang’s visit to Portugal to mark the launching of a new flight route between Lisbon and Hangzhou via Beijing to kick off on July 26, 2017.
Portugal’s Prime Minister heralded it as “the new silk route of the 21st Century,” Economia reported online earlier this week.
The route will be operated by Beijing Capital Airlines (BCA), a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines Group (HNA), a shareholder of Portuguese airline TAP.
The same news outlet said that a route connecting Lisbon and Macau is also in the pipeline, citing an official source of the Secretary of State for Tourism claiming “negotiations are underway at this moment.”