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Joint statement between China, Timor-Leste on establishing comprehensive strategic partnership


The People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste on Saturday issued a joint statement on establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The following is the full text of the statement:

Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste on Establishing Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

September 23, 2023, Hangzhou

1. From September 21 to 25, 2023, H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, attended the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. During the visit, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, held cordial and friendly talks with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. The two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of shared interests and reached broad important consensus. The two sides decided to elevate bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

2. Both nations share the view that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Timor-Leste 21 years ago, the two countries have acted with mutual respect and treated each other as equals, with the friendship continuing to deepen. In particular, since the two countries established a comprehensive partnership of good-neighborly friendship, mutual trust and benefit in 2014, mutual political solidarity has increased, bilateral cooperation across various fields has extended, and the China-Timor-Leste friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples.

With both China and Timor-Leste at a critical phase of expediting modernization and realizing rejuvenation, while facing historic changes of the world, China-Timor-Leste relations bear greater strategic significance than ever before. Looking to the future, the two nations will establish a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to lead concrete cooperation in various fields and promote the well-being of the two countries and two peoples so as to make a greater contribution to regional and global peace, stability and development.

3. Timor-Leste highly commended the great achievements China has made in the First Decade of the New Era and believes that Chinese modernization presents a new paradigm, which broadens paths and options for developing countries to achieve modernization and provides a Chinese solution for humankind to pursue a better social system. Timor-Leste believes that the Communist Party of China will lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building a great modern socialist country in all aspects, and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.

4. China congratulated Timor-Leste on successfully holding the Parliamentary election and establishing a new Government. China also highly commended Timor-Leste for continuing to advance national rejuvenation and development during the 21 years since the Restoration of Independence and for the important achievements it has made in economic construction and the improvement of livelihoods. China believes that under the guidance of the new Government Program, Timor-Leste will accelerate national construction and development, and expressed its willingness to continue providing assistance to support its social and economic progress.

5. The two nations agreed to maintain the positive momentum of high-level exchanges, reinforce strategic communication and solidify friendship and mutual political trust so as to keep strengthening bilateral relations. The two nations further agreed to enhance communication among central and local governments, legislative bodies and political parties and promote policy coordination and experience sharing in governance.

6. The two nations emphasized that mutual support on issues concerning each other’s common interests demonstrated the strategic significance of China-Timor-Leste relations. Timor-Leste reiterated its firm adherence to the one-China principle, recognized that there is but one China in the world, and that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole lawful government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. Timor-Leste is opposed to any form of “Taiwan independence,” will not establish any form of official relationship or conduct any form of official contacts with Taiwan, and supports the efforts of the Chinese government to realize national reunification. China reiterated its firm support for the Timor-Leste people in choosing the development path best suited to its national circumstances, and for Timor-Leste’s efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and opposed any external interference in Timor-Leste’s internal affairs.

7. Timor-Leste highly appreciated the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind proposed by President Xi Jinping and welcomes the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by China. The two nations will deepen cooperation in areas related to these three initiatives to pursue common development, common security and cultural prosperity, and contribute through joint efforts actively to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

8. The two nations spoke highly of the achievements of Belt and Road cooperation, and will sign the Cooperation Plan between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste on Jointly Promoting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at an early date, to strengthen and promote high-quality, win-win BRI cooperation.

9. The two nations agreed to make full use of mechanisms, such as the China-Timor-Leste Economic and Trade Joint Committee to expand bilateral trade and investment volume. The two nations will also implement more concrete cooperation in four key areas: industry revitalization, infrastructure development, food self-sufficiency and livelihood improvement.

Industry revitalization. Timor-Leste expressed appreciation to the Chinese Government for granting zero-tariff treatment to 98 percent of the tariff lines of Timor-Leste exports to China. The two nations agreed to expedite efforts to establish an agreement on fishery cooperation with a whole industry chain including fishing, farming and manufacturing. China will continue to render help in technology training on coffee growing and support Timor-Leste in exporting coffee to China to support revitalizing the Timor-Leste coffee industry. The two nations agreed to enhance energy policy exchanges and explore the possibility of cooperation in the exploitation and development of oil and natural gas.

Infrastructure development. China will focus on the policy priorities of the government of Timor-Leste, guide enterprises to ensure sound operation and maintenance of the national grid in Timor-Leste and conduct cooperation with Timor-Leste on communication infrastructure. China expressed its willingness to encourage its enterprises to actively participate in the development of infrastructure including roads, bridges and ports. The two nations agreed to expedite efforts to establish bilateral Air Services Agreement and explore inaugurating scheduled flights at an early date.

Food self-sufficiency. The two nations will implement agricultural projects such as hybrid rice breeding cooperation, granary and food processing, corn whole mechanism technical cooperation, and agriculture technology cooperation (Phase II), and ensure efficient building of an agricultural hi-tech development zone to help Timor-Leste achieve food self-sufficiency and modernization of agriculture. The two nations agreed to expedite efforts to establish an agricultural cooperation agreement and a joint working group, promote experience sharing in poverty alleviation and rural revitalization.

Livelihood improvement. The Chinese government will continue to send medical team to Timor-Leste, providing medical services for the Timorese people and will ensure sound implementation of projects including the National Imaging Center of Timor-Leste and etc. The two nations will also accelerate cooperation on the digital TV Project (Phase II) and the China-Timor-Leste Friendship Hospital. Timor-Leste expressed gratitude to China for providing government scholarships. China stands ready to carry out more projects to promote economic growth and improve livelihoods in Timor-Leste.

10. The two nations agreed to enhance high-level military exchanges, strengthen cooperation in areas such as personnel training, equipment technology, the conduct of joint exercises and training. The government of Timor-Leste highly commended the Peace Ark Hospital ship from the Chinese Navy which performed “Mission Harmony-2023” in Timor-Leste from September 3 to 10, which provided humanitarian medical service to local Timorese people.

11. The two nations agreed to strengthen the friendship province cooperation between Hunan Province and Manatuto District, conduct cooperation programs in areas such as vegetable planting, animal husbandry and aquaculture and encourage the Macao Special Administrative Region and Dili to establish sister-city ties at an early date.

12. China supports Timor-Leste’s accession to ASEAN, welcomes Timor-Leste to playing a larger role in regional cooperation, and will render help within the scope of its capacity to Timor-Leste in capacity building and other aspects. China will share more development opportunities and benefits with Timor-Leste through the platforms of China-ASEAN cooperation and East Asia cooperation.

13. The two nations commended the important role of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao) in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and economic ties. Both nations will ensure sound implementation of the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference of the Forum held in April 2022, and enhance cooperation under the framework of the Forum.

14. China and Timor-Leste share common interests and similar positions in international affairs, support the United Nations (UN) in playing a central role in maintaining world peace, promoting common development and advancing international cooperation, and will strengthen mutual support in international affairs, including upholding the UN-centered international system, the international order based on international law and the norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Both nations agreed to jointly maintain the unity and cooperation of the international community, oppose hegemonism and power politics, uphold true multilateralism, and promote humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom.

15. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao expressed gratitude for the warm and friendly hospitality of the Chinese government and people and looked forward to early visits to Timor-Leste by Chinese leaders.

(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao of Timor-Leste in Hangzhou, capital city of east China’s Zhejiang Province, September 23, 2023. /Xinhua)



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