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China criticises US over Portugal pressure

 In Business, Companies, Diplomacy, News

China has strongly criticised the United States government for putting pressure on Lisbon not to do business with Beijing on contracts concerning technology.

The condemnation came today two weeks after US ambassador to Lisbon George E. Glass gave an interview with newspaper Expresso in which he appeared to give Portugal a choice between doing business with China or the US over adopting technology from the Chinese telecommunications group Huawei to build Portugal’s 5G network.
“To coerce other countries to bow to its will is not just a flagrant act of harassment, but also an obvious rejection of the economic market principles which govern the United States,” states the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement to the Portuguese news agency Lusa.
“No nation with an independent spirit should be associated with this campaign from Washington,” adds the ministry in the communiqué.
In a visit to Lisbon last week, the US Under-Secretary of State Keith Krach underlined the importance of excluding Huawei from supplying 5G networks for the internet.
The visit took place just days after Ambassador Glass said that the Portuguese “have to make a choice now” between “working with secure partners, NATO allies, or working with economic partners, the Chinese.”
Glass admitted that: “Portugal would inevitably end up part of the battlefield in Europe between the United States and China” and alleged that China “has long-term plans to accumulate malign influence through the economy and other means.”
The comments from the US ambassador were roundly criticised by the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, and the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa who said that: “In Portugal those representatives elected by the Portuguese were the ones who would decide their destinies.”
In the same communiqué sent to Lusa, China accused the United States of “infringing the rules of international trade” and of “damaging the interests of both consumers and business.”
The Chinese Government also reminded Lisbon that both Portugal and China have signed a strategic global partnership.
The Global Strategic Partnership between China and Portugal was signed in October 2010 during a State visit to Lisbon by the then Chinese president Hu Jintao on the back of which a number of important Chinese investment contracts for the Portuguese economy were signed.
Diplomatic relations between China and the United States have deteriorated rapidly over the past two years, with various disputes between the two nations which are the largest economies in the world. References in both Beijing and Washington of a new cold war are frequent references.
In addition to the Huawei boycott, Donald Trump has placed 70 Chinese companies on a US Department of Trade blacklist, limiting their access to US technology.

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