CGTN: 50 years on, China, Spain have profound friendship, achieve common prosperity

BEIJING, April 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Chinese President Xi Jinping and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez discussed major topics concerning global peace and economic cooperation on Friday. Both agreed that China and Spain should keep upholding multilateralism, safeguarding world peace and coping with various global challenges through dialogue and cooperation.

Sanchez is visiting China as part of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Before the high-level meeting, he also attended the Boao Forum for Asia in south China’s Hainan Province.

Over the last 50 years, China and Spain have built a profound friendship through frequent high-level meetings and people-to-people exchanges, and the trade volume between the two countries has seen a significant expansion, almost doubling between 2017 and 2022 from 32 billion euros (about $34.8 billion) to 57.7 billion euros (about $62.9 billion).

Solve global challenges through dialogue and cooperation

Xi expressed hope that Spain could play a positive role in promoting China-EU dialogue and cooperation, and the two sides could carry out comprehensive dialogue and cooperation in the spirit of independence, mutual respect and mutual benefit.

Spain is gearing up to take over the EU’s rotating presidency in July and will be responsible for coordinating the work of the council and working with other member states to develop a common position on diplomatic issues.

“The sound development of relations between China and the European Union requires the EU to adhere to strategic independence,” Xi said at Friday’s meeting. He said that China and the EU share a lot of things in common: both uphold international orders and advocate the peaceful settlement of international disputes, so the two parties can cooperate to cope with global challenges.

Sanchez agreed that today’s world is full of uncertainties and only through cooperation can the world meet various challenges more effectively and promote world peace and development.

The two sides also touched on the Ukraine crisis. China has consistently promoted peace talks and political settlement on the Ukraine crisis, hoping the relevant parties abandon the Cold War mentality and camp confrontation, and give up extreme sanctions.

“It’s hoped that the relevant parties can build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security framework through dialogue and consultation,” Xi said.

Sanchez introduced Spain’s stance on the issue and spoke positively about China’s 12-point Ukraine position paper, which was published in February. He said that he appreciated China’s constructive role in the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.

Ample scope for economic collaboration

China is committed to achieving modernization and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through high-quality development, which will provide Spain and other countries with a broader market space and more cooperation opportunities.

Xi stressed the importance of mutually beneficial cooperation, saying the two countries should plan bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and support each other on critical issues concerning their core interests such as sovereignty, security and development.

To synergize the two sides’ development strategies, China and Spain need to tap the cooperation potential, Xi said. He added that China is willing to import more high-quality products from Spain and it’s hoped that Spain can provide a fair and just business environment for Chinese companies.

Spain is willing to maintain candid communication with China and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, especially in the fields of electric vehicles, green energy and the digital economy, Sanchez said. He also hoped that China and Spain can strengthen communication and coordination on international and regional issues such as climate change.

As Spain will soon take over the rotating presidency of the EU, Sanchez said that Spain will play a positive role in promoting dialogue and cooperation between China and the EU.

In recent years, bilateral trade between China and Spain has maintained steady growth, showing strong resilience and vitality. China is now Spain’s largest trading partner outside the EU, while Spain is China’s sixth-largest trading partner within the EU.

Official data shows that as of February 2022, Spain’s total investment in China surpassed 3.8 billion euros, with more than 790 companies established in China, while Chinese companies invested 16 billion euros in Spain from 2016 to 2020.

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