President Xi Jinping said Thursday, during a conversation with his Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa that he expects that after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the two sides will deepen cooperation in various fields, promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road (B&R), explore trilateral cooperation in public health and other areas, and push for greater development of the China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership. The vow comes amidst strains in China-European Union relations.
According to Xinhua News Agency, Xi thanked Rebelo de Sousa for writing a letter to convey his sympathies to the Chinese people after COVID-19 broke out, adding that China and Portugal are working together in solidarity and the Chinese side firmly supports Portugal’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus disease.
China, he said, stands ready to continue to provide assistance within its capacity to the European country, and actively help it purchase and arrange the transport of medical supplies in China. Xi also said that he cherishes his friendship with Rebelo de Sousa and is willing to maintain contact.
Calling for concerted efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi stressed that all countries should firmly support the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) playing their due roles in coordinating international anti-epidemic cooperation, and they should also strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policies, and maintain the stability of global industrial and supply chains.
He urged China and Portugal, as well as the European Union, to join hands to make active efforts.
For his part, Rebelo de Sousa said the Portuguese side admires the firm resolve the Chinese people have demonstrated in their fight against COVID-19, noting that the pandemic is a common enemy of all mankind, and the international community should uphold multilateralism and jointly deal with it.
He expressed his gratitude for China’s valuable support and assistance, which he said has contributed greatly to Portugal’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
Noting that Portugal-China friendship is oriented to the future, he said that through the joint fight against the pandemic, the friendship between the two peoples will definitely be further enhanced and the partnership between the two countries will be more consolidated.
The Portuguese leader said he hopes to meet with Xi at an early date after the pandemic and jointly push forward Portugal-China cooperation.
China Daily, the Chinese official newspaper, published a letter on Wednesday by EU ambassadors, calling for greater cooperation with Beijing. According to the EU´s External Service agreement for publication was only given after a reference to the origin of the pandemic in China was removed. Some ambassadors later circulated the article as an open letter for publication, including the reference to the origin of the coronavirus.
While China and the US have been at odds because of the response do Covid-19, the EU has had a more constructive approach towards Beijing.
“It is now clear that the only way out of it is together. And that is also true of the many other areas in which the world needs the cooperation of Europe and China, such as climate action, peace and security, sustainable development and upholding the multilateral global order. The EU and China can push forward all of these and more, together,” the letter reads.