Ports in Portugal can serve as important junctions of Belt and Road

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By Feng Xuejun from People’s Daily

The national flags of China and Portugal are hung along the streets of Portugal’s capital Lisbon to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping. (People’s Daily/Wang Yunsong)

Adelino V M Canário in scientific research. (People’s Daily/Feng Xuejun)

Students of Confucius Institute at Aveiro University perform bamboo dance. (Photo/Xinhua)

Portugal has a long history of marine culture and rich experience in the exploitation of marine resources, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted in a signed article on Portuguese media.
He said China and Portugal should strengthen Blue Partnership, facilitate cooperation in marine research, ocean development and protection, port logistics and other areas, and grow blue economy together to better harness the vast ocean to the benefit of future generations.
China and Portugal have identified marine aquaculture as an important area for bilateral cooperation on marine science and technology during the 8th meeting of the China-Portugal Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation held in Lisbon on December 14, 2017.
A Portuguese research team led by Adelino V M Canário, director of Portugal’s top marine science research institute – Center for Marine Science (CCMAR) at University of Algarve, has cooperated with many Chinese scientific research institutes and universities, carrying out a series of studies on key marine resources including mussel, sea cucumber, and clam to seek new technological breakthrough in green and sustainable aquaculture.
The cooperation between Canário and Chinese institutes dates back to 2012, when Portugal was deeply affected by the European sovereign debt crisis and troubled by an insufficient budget for scientific and research.
At an international conference, Canário learnt China’s strong support to enhance scientific and technological innovation, as well as the country’s constantly optimized innovation environment and improved independent innovation capability.
Later, Canário had an opportunity for academic exchange in China upon recommendation, and in 2014, he started working as a distinguished professor at Shanghai Ocean University.
Portugal and China can share information in such areas as marine scientific research, marine exploitation, and marine protection, noted Canário, adding that he hopes the two countries can set up more joint research centers for marine scientific and technological innovation, so as to enhance capacity complementation in scientific research, and facilitate exchanges of scientific personnel.
Carlos Guedes Soares, director of Center for Marine Technology and Ocean Engineering (CENTEC) at University of Lisbon, is a leader of a research team on safety performance of China’s innovative ship – dual-use vessel for river and sea. The project is another vivid example of marine cooperation between China and Portugal.
The dual-use vessel, which can be used in both river and sea, exempts people from the trouble of changing vessels at ports, enhancing capacity of containers and improving efficiency.
The sea-river 1100 TEU container vessel was built according to the contract signed in China’s Wuhan Shipping Exchange in 2017. It can not only cut cost by around 30 percent for containers from central China’s Wuhan to Shanghai, but also improve the capability to cope with extreme weathers and waves at sea.
Portugal has advantages in fundamental theoretical research on marine science, expressed Soares, adding that ocean engineering research is helpful in improving the logistics capability along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which is conducive to the infrastructure construction of the Belt and Road
China has abundant talent resources, and the Chinese government has been placing increasingly great importance and support to scientific research projects, bringing the country to the world’s forefront in terms of scientific and technological innovation environment, said Soares.
Soares believes that his team will benefit from the cooperation with their Chinese partners.
President Xi expressed in his signed article that China hopes to make concerted efforts with Portugal to take forward the Belt and Road Initiative and build a partnership of common development.
“As Portugal lies at an important intersection of the land and maritime silk roads, our two countries are naturally positioned to cooperate under the Belt and Road,” Xi said in the article.
Portugal has responded actively to the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi since its inception, said, Ambassador Pedro Sanchez Da Costa Pereira, Director General for Foreign Policy of the Portuguese Ministry of the Foreign Affairs. , in an interview with People’s Daily.
Located at the west end of the Eurasian continent, Portugal is endowed with the unique advantage of boosting connectivity around the world, said Pereira, noting that the ports of Portugal can serve as important junctions of the Belt and Road.



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