December 4, 2018 / 5:50 PM / 10 days ago

China's Xi seeks deeper cooperation with EU, Portugal

China's President Xi Jinping and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa hold a news conference in Lisbon, Portugal, December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

LISBON (Reuters) - China wants to deepen cooperation with the European Union, China’s President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday during a visit to Portugal, a country he said was an important link to Europe.

“Chinese-Portuguese relations are entering their best period in history,” Xi said in a speech after meeting Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Xi said the two countries could benefit from Beijing’s belt and road initiative, to build business partnerships, including in third countries along the old silk road from China to Europe.

Xi said that having Portugal as a partner, “we will deepen our ... strategic partnership between China and the European Union”. He made no mention of Beijing’s trade spat with Washington.

Portugal has been one of Europe’s biggest recipients of Chinese investment in the past few years and Chinese companies have large stakes in the energy sector, banking, insurance and healthcare.

Reporting By Sergio Goncalves and Catarina Demony, Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Axel Bugge and Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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