On January 31, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates at the Great Hall of the People. Both sides reached broad consensus on advancing the development of China-Portugal and China-EU ties.
Wen said over the years China and Portugal have always deemed each other important cooperative partners and are actively committed to the development of bilateral friendly cooperation. "Since the two countries established all-around strategic partnership in 2005, China and Portugal have deepened their political trust and witnessed rapid trade development," said Wen. The goal of doubling the bilateral trade volume in three years is expected to be achieved ahead of time, he said. To further consolidate and develop bilateral friendly cooperation is the common aspiration of the two countries and their peoples, said Wen, adding that China is ready to work with Portugal to continue enhancing political exchanges and exchanging views on bilateral ties and major international issues in a timely manner. Wen proposed the two countries support the work of bilateral economic and trade mixed committee and China-Portugal businesses' committee in a bid to strengthen their guiding and coordinating capability. He also urged both countries to improve their trade mix, encourage mutual investment between businesses, and give full play to the role of the "forum on economic and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese speaking countries" to promote exchanges and cooperation between China and these countries including Portugal. Both sides should also actively push for their contacts in the areas of culture, science and technology, and education and discuss the possibility of conducting cooperation in such fields as nanometer technology, bio-pharmacy, marine research and modern agriculture, added Wen.
On China-EU relations, Wen said the two sides have officially launched the substantive negotiations on the Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which, as an important document in bilateral ties, is of great significance to guiding and standardizing China-EU ties. Portugal will assume the rotating presidency of the EU in the second half of 2007. Wen said China will work closely with Portugal to finalize the talks on Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) at the earliest date possible. Wen noted he hoped China and the EU will grasp bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term perspective to continuously advance their strategic partnership. He also urged both sides to enhance strategic dialogue, properly handle each other's concerns and deepen pragmatic cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, science, technology and education.
Socrates spoke highly of Portugal-China ties and expressed satisfaction over the positive achievements the two countries have made since the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership. He hoped through this current visit, both sides will further strengthen political ties, keep closer coordination and cooperation in international affairs, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas, in a bid to push for rapid growth of bilateral economic and trade relations. Portugal welcomes Chinese businesses to invest and develop in Portugal and make use of market advantages of Portugal to explore the EU market, he said. Socrates added during its rotating EU presidency in the second half of this year, Portugal will play a positive role to push EU-China ties for greater progress.
Following the talks, the two leaders attended the signing ceremony of a range of cooperation documents covering areas such as judicature, economy and trade, science and technology, and education.
Prior to the talks, Wen hosted a welcoming ceremony for Socrates's China visit at the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. Vice Chairman Qi Xuchun of the Revolutionary Committee of Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK), Minister of Education Zhou Ji, Minister of Finance Jin Renqing, Chinese Ambassador to Portugal Gao Kexiang and other officials attended the ceremony.