Senior Chinese official Liu Yunshan ended a three-day visit to Portugal on Thursday, during which he vowed to upgrade the two countries' strategic partnership and deepen cooperation in cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
"China would like to work with Portugal to keep on deepening pragmatic cooperation in cultural and people-to-people exchanges so as to promote cultural blending and mutual learning between the Chinese and Western civilizations," Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said at a meeting with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva.
He said cultural and people-to-people exchanges served as an important basis for the healthy development of relations between countries, adding China and Portugal had seen their cultural interaction broadened and enriched in recent years, consolidating popular support for cooperation.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Portugal.
"Our bilateral relations have achieved remarkable progress in the past 35 years, especially since 2005 when China and Portugal forged a comprehensive strategic partnership," Liu said.
Cavaco Silva said he agreed with Liu's proposal for deepening cultural exchanges between his country and China.
Portugal and China had maintained very good cooperation in education, and should further expand their cultural and people-to-people exchanges, so the two peoples could better understand each other, he said.
The Portuguese president also called for more Chinese investment in the southern European country.
At a meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, Liu expressed China's willingness to continuously push forward bilateral relations.
"China is willing to work with Portugal to strengthen bilateral economic and trade cooperation, expand two-way trade and investments, and deepen cultural, education and tourism cooperation, so as to raise the China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level," he said.
Passos Coelho said Portugal, a member of the European Union (EU) and an influential country among Portuguese-speaking nations, could help Chinese companies enter the EU market and serve as a bridge for cooperation between China and Latin America.
"There are broad prospects for Portugal-China cooperation," he said, noting China's development was an important contribution to the world.
During his stay in Lisbon, Liu also made extensive contact with Portuguese party leaders.
At a meeting with Antonio Jose Seguro, general secretary of the Socialist Party (PS), and Jeronimo de Sousa, general secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), Liu praised Portuguese political parties' efforts in boosting relations between the two countries.
The healthy, steady development of state-to-state relations could not do without the support and facilitation of political parties, he said.
The CPC, attaching importance to its friendly relations with Portuguese political parties, was ready to strengthen exchanges at various levels to give full play to the role of inter-party relations in accelerating bilateral ties, Liu said.
Jose Seguro said it would be conducive to in-depth exchanges and mutual learning on important issues like development strategy to enhance contact between top leaders of the PS and the CPC.
De Sousa said the PCP attaches importance to China's active role in the current world affairs, adding that his party was willing to continue to deepen its friendly ties with the CPC.
Portugal is the last leg of Liu's four-nation Europe tour, which has already taken him to Denmark, Finland and Ireland.