Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez has marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Spain with a visit to the country that included meeting Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
The two leaders have discussed the ongoing war in Ukraine as Spain prepares to take on the Presidency of the European Union in July.
Xi, who visited Moscow in March, published a 12-point peace plan to find a path out of the crisis in Ukraine”.
Although the plan received a cool reception from Western leaders who claimed China lacked impartiality regarding Moscow for effective peace negotiations, China sees itself as a global mediator, including in the war between Moscow and Kyiv.
The Spanish Prime Minister said he would listen to the Chinese peace plan and use the visit to drive home his views on what he called the “global crisis” caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“China is a global actor, so obviously we must listen to its voice to see if between all of us, we can put an end to this war and Ukraine can recover its territorial integrity.”
“The most important thing…is that when this peace is reached in Ukraine, it will be fair and lasting… and when we talk about fair, I mean that the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which has been violated by Russia, is respected,” Sánchez said during a news conference on Saturday at a meeting of Latin American leaders in the Dominican Republic.
During the two day visit, Sanchez took part in the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) to urge collaboration and the importance of continuing to deepen this mutually beneficial collaboration and the respect for the sovereignty of each country.
“This means ensuring full reciprocity between partners and providing a stable regulatory framework that allows domestic and foreign companies to compete on a level playing field.” Pedro Sánchez recalled that there is ample room for cooperation between Europe and China. “We must remain economic partners, and our relationship must extend beyond that,” he stated.
Pedro Sánchez restated Spain’s support for a rules-based international order and the importance of maintaining free, balanced and fair trade to promote stability and prosperity. “A fragmented world ruled by protectionist tendencies is a return to the past,” he said, “with all its shadows and uncertainties”.
As well as President Xi Jinping, Sanchez also had a meeting with Premier Li Qiang and the Chairman of the Communist Party and National People’s Congress, Zhao Leji.
High on the agenda for all visits is the economic relationship between the two countries.
The value of trade has almost doubled to 58 billion Euros since 2017.
China is also Spain’s leading supplier and the largest market in Asia for Spanish companies.
Sánchez stressed that Spain continues its growth above the Eurozone average, has one of the lowest inflation rates in the EU and has reached historic levels in foreign direct investment, with flows of almost €35 billion, “a large part of which is destined for industrial projects and renewable energies”.