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China wants to enhance cooperation with the Azores in areas such as culture, science and economy

China wants to enhance cooperation with the Azores in areas such as culture, science and economy

“Portugal and China are strategic partners. We have excellent relations in all fields: political, economic and cultural. We have cooperation and we have projects, but it is not enough. We are deepening cooperation,” Zhao Bintang told reporters.

Today, the Chinese Ambassador to Portugal met with the Vice President of the Azores Regional Government, Artur Lima, in Angra do Heroismo, Terceira Island.

Among the projects discussed at the meeting were setting up a Mandarin language institute on Terceira Island or São Miguel Island, and holding a cultural week “so that local people can learn more about Chinese culture.”

Zhao Bintang also highlighted the possibility of promoting “export of products from the Azores to China, such as milk and cheese”, promoting tourism and developing aquaculture projects.

He stressed that “Portugal and China are two countries that have signed a maritime cooperation and blue economy agreement.”

The ambassador defended that there is “a lot of potential” to be explored, stressing that it is possible to “strengthen friendship and cooperation between the Azores and provinces and cities of China.”

Asked about China’s interest in the Lajes base or in the port of Praia da Vitória, on the island of Terceira, Zhao Bintang said the country has no special interest in the Azores, only in cooperation for the region’s development and “mutual benefit.”

For the deputy head of the regional government, this was a “first step” towards deepening “the partnership relationship, be it scientific, economic or cultural, with China.”

As for trade relations, Artur Lima considered that there is a “very important potential”, especially in the field of exporting milk and dairy products.

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The vice president of the Azores executive also stressed that the Azorean Chinese community, which has about 400 people, is “well integrated in the region.”