The Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng, today said the town-twinning initiative between the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) of the People’s Republic of China, and the Água Grande District in the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, would help seize fresh opportunities arising from the “Belt and Road” initiative, by giving better play to the respective advantages of the two places.
Both sides would continue to liaise closely to increase mutual understanding, so as to intensify reciprocal benefits and create brighter prospects for joint development.
The Chief Executive made the remarks at an online ceremony taken place at the Macao Government Headquarters to mark the signing of the memorandum on town twinning between the two places.
Signing the memorandum were the Chief Executive and the President of the Água Grande District, Mr José Maria Fonseca. Officials witnessing the signing ceremony included the Minister of Justice, Internal Administration and Human Rights of São Tomé and Príncipe, Mr Cílcio Pires Santos; the Commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the MSAR, Mr Liu Xianfa; and Acting Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in São Tomé and Príncipe, Mr Hu Bin.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Mr Ho said over the six years of the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and São Tomé and Príncipe, fruitful results had been achieved in several areas, and cultural exchange continued to be intensified. President Xi Jinping reiterated that the relationship between China and São Tomé and Príncipe should be set as a paradigm for cooperation between a large country and a small country, as well as for South-South Cooperation. The “Belt and Road” initiative put forward by China had seen strong support and active participation from São Tomé and Príncipe, while both sides continued to strengthen cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, economic and trade matters, and culture and training, among others. China had been already, for several consecutive years, a crucial market for goods imported by São Tomé and Príncipe. The two countries were developing a comprehensive cooperation partnership.
The MSAR was devoted to pressing ahead with its strategic goals as a world centre of tourism and leisure; and as a commercial and trade cooperation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, while developing the city as a consolidator of major cooperative projects in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and establishing a multi-cultural exchange and cooperation base with an emphasis on Chinese culture, said Mr Ho. The MSAR also spared no effort in participating in the development of the “Belt and Road” initiative, and in the Greater Bay Area, in a bid to elevate Macao’s position and function in serving the country’s economic development and opening up.
The Chief Executive said the town twinning between the MSAR and the Água Grande District would consolidate and foster the friendly relationship that existed between the two places. It also created an opportunity systematically to expand exchange and cooperation effort in the economic and commercial, tourism, fishing, cultural, and civil society sectors. Macao would give full play to its role as a commercial and trade cooperation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, in order to promote exchange and cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
In his speech, the President of the Água Grande District expressed his warmest welcoming of the relationship and twinning between the two places. Mr Fonseca said the signing of the memorandum would certainly strengthen mutual friendly relations, allowing the people from the two places to witness and safeguard the friendship established between China and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Mr Fonseca said São Tomé and Príncipe welcomed the prospect that a greater number of Macao pople would be able to visit the country, and enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes and experience the warm and hospitable nature of the local people. The Água Grande District would continue to create beneficial conditions for partnership relationships to solidify and continue.
According to the town twinning memorandum, the two sides will undertake to utilise their respective advantages, in accordance with the respective laws and regulations of the places, and based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit. This is in order to make the necessary adaptations to enable establishment of close and stable friendly relations, in order to step up joint promotion of prosperity and development for both sides.