China and Timor Strengthen Cooperation With Official Visit

by: Jessica Ferreira

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of East Timor, Bendito Freitas, is on an official visit to China with the goal of strengthening cooperation and diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Timorese government announced.

During the visit, which takes place until Friday, Bendito Freitas will meet his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, to discuss “important issues of mutual interest”, according to the Timorese executive.

Among the topics under discussion will be the visit of Timorese President José Ramos-Horta to China, Chinese support for East Timor’s accession to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), cooperation with the member countries of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPSC) and the air services agreement between the two countries, informed the Timorese government.

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China’s position on the South China Sea issue and the cooperation plan within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will also be discussed by the two ministers.

BRI is an initiative launched by China in 2013, inspired by the ancient Silk Road, which has become the main foreign policy program of the Chinese government, led by President Xi Jinping, and to which 150 countries have already signed up.

In September 2023, China and East Timor raised bilateral relations to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, the second highest level of Chinese diplomatic protocol.

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The agreement was signed between Timorese Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão, and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Asian Games, a multi-sport event held every four years.

During the same period, Saleumxay Kommasith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos, and Bui Thanh Son, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, will also be visiting the country separately.

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