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Uncertainty over Portuguese PM’s visit to Macau in December in light of Hong Kong protests

macau visitPortuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, is expected to be present in Macau for the 20th handover anniversary celebrations in December of this year, but with confirmation still pending on the evolution of the social unrest taking place currently in Hong Kong, it has been reported.

Upon his visit to the city in May, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa had hinted he could maybe return to the city in December – with President Xi Jinping expected to be present for the occasion – but it was now revealed it will be Costa instead to make the trip.

However, an official announcement is expected only in the next weeks with the Portuguese general elections to take place on the 6th of October, although many predict Costa’s Socialist Party (PS) will win by a large margin – and with the on-going public protests in Hong Kong to also possibly impact the decision to go forward with the trip to Macau.

In a recent interview with Portuguese newspaper Expresso, Costa indicated that the Portuguese government hoped the situation in Hong Kong would stabilize “as quickly as possible while respecting fundamental rights”, noting that the historic relations between Portugal and China did not mean there could not be fundamental disagreements concerning issues such as human rights.

Costa also expressed that he believed that Portuguese nationals residing in Macau had no reason so far to fear similar issues in the Special Administrative Region.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, told Lusa that the European Union (EU) was following the Hong Kong situation closely with special attention, and hoping that the unrest would not “spill-over” to Macau.

It was previously reported that the unrest in Hong Kong, which has lasted for around three months so far, could lead to President Xi to cancel his state visit to Macau in December.