Macau Forum holds event in São Tomé and Príncipe to strengthen bilateral relations

Macau Forum holds event in São Tomé and Príncipe to strengthen bilateral relations

The Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries (Macau Forum) announced today it will hold a business conference in Sao Tome and Principe, a country that has resumed diplomatic relations with Beijing only in 2016.

The business conference will be held in July 2019, the Macau Forum Secretary-General Xu Yingzhen has announced after a meeting that brought together representatives from eight Portuguese-speaking countries

For many years, Sao Tome and Principe was one of the few countries with diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which made it impossible, under Beijing's foreign policy, to establish ties with the People's Republic of China.

With today's announcement, the Macau Forum is materializing Beijing's new strategy, which aims to foster economic partnerships with countries which have abandoned diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

As part of Sao Tome and Principe's rapprochement strategy, the country's Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus is in China this week for a series of meetings which include Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

Today, Bom Jesus is on Hainan Island as a guest of the Boao Asia forum, also known as the 'Asian Davos', which brings together government leaders, companies and universities from Asia and other continents.

Bom Jesus told Lusa news agency he will use Sao Tome's "intimate friendship and solidarity" with China to request funding for structuring projects and budgetary donations.

"Sao Tome and Principe urgently needs funding, and we will ask China - given its economic potential, as well as the friendship, solidarity and intimate relationship [between the two countries] - for all the solidarity it can provide at a moment in which the country and this new government need funding," Bom Jesus told reporters moments before flying to China.

"China is one of our strategic partners, some structuring projects are already outlined, and we rely on Chinese funding, but without ruling out the need to look for other donors so we can fund our state budget," he added.