LISBON, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Macao has made remarkable development achievements since its return to China in 1999, Portuguese officials have said, praising the successful implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle in Macao.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa spoke highly of Macao's socio-economic development successes and expressed his appreciation of the preservation and promotion of the Portuguese language in Macao.
The harmonious and stable development of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) is a testimony to the friendly ties between Portugal and China, the president said.
The smooth handover of the former colony by Portugal to China has set an example for the international community to tackle similar issues left over from history, he said.
"We value the 'one country, two systems' principle," Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa told the country's Lusa News Agency on Tuesday, saying that the principle has led to material and social development in Macao over the past 20 years.
Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said his country and China are committed to mutual respect and seeking common ground while reserving differences and abiding by the Basic Law of the Macao SAR.
The Portuguese side always adheres to the principle that Macao is an inseparable part of China, and has actively developed friendly relations with China under the frameworks of the United Nations, the European Union and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, Santos Silva added.
Jeronimo de Sousa, general secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party, said Macao has reaped great achievements in various areas in the past two decades.
Macao is playing an ever-increasingly important role to promote the friendship between the two countries and their people, he said, adding Macao has also become a bridge to facilitate dialogue between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Friday marks the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland. On Dec. 20, 1999, the Chinese government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Macao and announced the official establishment of the Macao SAR of the People's Republic of China.