Chinese premier Li Keqiang reveals slew of plans to tighten ties with developing world

Initiatives include investments in education, health and infrastructure across African continent, in Asia and South America

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 7:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 7:00am

Chinese premier Li Keqiang unveiled a raft of measures aimed at cementing Beijing’s connection to the developing world as he continued with his visit to Macau on Tuesday, pressing the flesh with ordinary people in the world’s most cash-rich gaming hub.

The premier, who has been in the former Portuguese enclave since Monday and will leave on Wednesday morning, unveiled an array of measures as he spoke to leaders of the world’s Portuguese-speaking nations at a two-day conference in Macau on Tuesday.

The initiatives included substantial investments in education, health and infrastructure programmes across the African continent, in Asia and South America.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang gives Macau his seal of approval

They also included moves which will see Macau play an increasingly important link role to the world’s Portuguese-speaking nations – among them Brazil, Angola and Mozambique – in which China has invested heavily in recent years.

Li told the fifth Macau Forum yesterday: “Last year, trade volume between China and Portuguese-speaking countries was nearly US$100 billion (HK$776 billion). China has become one of the most important trading partners for Portuguese-speaking countries.

“The current international political and economic situation is undergoing profound changes ... China is willing to work with the Portuguese-speaking countries to jointly build more solid economic and trade relations.”

Li’s comments followed a series of meetings with senior figures from governments across the Portuguese-speaking world and came as he visited a number of historic sites in Macau and met many members of the public.

The day was also marked by a series of protests over Li’s visit in Macau.

A pro-democracy organisation, the New Macau Association, said it was deeply concerned over what it claimed was the escalation of the abuse of power by the Macau authorities during Li’s visit.

It condemned what it described as the escalation of a disregard for the rule of the law, in reference to the denial of entry and detention of a number of Hong Kong activists and lawmakers, adding that it would be making information on the situation available to the United Nations.

Li, who was on his first visit to the former Portuguese enclave, was expected to leave on Wednesday morning.