China Commited to Timor-Leste´s Infrastructure, Agriculture and Industry sectors

China´s minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his country´s “commitment” to support economic development in Timor-Leste, particularly in the infrastructure, agriculture and industry sectors.

The strengthening of co-operation between the two countries was discussed at a meeting between the Timor-Leste minister, Bendito Freitas, who is on an official visit to China, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

“During the meeting, the Chinese government made a commitment to support Timor-Leste’s economic development, with special emphasis on the infrastructure, agriculture and industry sectors,” the Timorese government said. “The strengthening of the capacity of Timorese human resources through scholarships and training was also emphasised.”

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The two ministers are also said to have expressed their “intention to further strengthen diplomatic relations and bilateral cooperation in favour of common interests.”

In September 2023, China upgraded bilateral relations with Timor-Leste to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” – the second highest level in its diplomatic protocol, in line with the ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure-building initiative.

‘Belt and Road’ was launched by China in 2013, inspired by the ancient Silk Road, and has become the main foreign policy programme of its government, under its president, Xi Jinping. So far, 150 countries have signed up.

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Timor-Leste joined the initiative with the signing in 2022 by its prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão, and Xi on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Asian Games, a multi-sport event that takes place every four years.

During the meeting, it was also proposed that a working group be set up for “co-operation in the area of agriculture and the development of Timor-Leste’s infrastructure, as well as increasing the exchange of human resources and strengthening cultural, educational and professional co-operation.”

“China reiterated its support for Timor-Leste’s full membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and also offered to provide assistance through the Global Development Initiative,” the government added.

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