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Spanish think tank urges closer ties with China

By Bu Yingna | ChinaWatch | Updated: 2018-11-15 16:16

Cervantes Institute in Beijing was holding the formal presentation of the newest report, "Elcano Report on Spain-China Relations in 2018", of Real Instituto Elcano on Wednesday.
[Photo/Bu Yingna]

Spain's renowned think thank Real Instituto Elcano published a report on the country's relations with China in Beijing on Wednesday, urging both sides to take concrete steps to deepen trade and other partnership activities on the occasion of marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Mario Esteban, researcher at the Real Instituto Elcano and coordinator of the "Elcano Report on Spain-China Relations in 2018" said the two countries should make trade more balanced and the potential of bilateral cooperation more deeply stimulated, mentioning there are 25 specific recommendations offered in the report.

When introducing the report at Cervantes Institute in Beijing, Esteban said that the Spain-China relation has developed greatly in the past decades, while imbalance is also existing, especially in term of trade. To bridge this gap, Spain should make efforts to play a more important role in influencing the EU's China policy.

Esteban said the main contents of the report in four aspects of the politics, economy, society, culture and public diplomacy.

Esteban mentioned that the success of the Shanghai Import Expo represents that China hopes to have equal economic and trade relations with the outside world, and Spain also attaches great importance to common development in cooperation. 

"It is hoped that both China and Spain can continue to deepen cooperation in multilateral relations," said Esteban.

Since 1973, China-Spain relations have achieved rapid development by becoming good friends and partners. Both sides have experienced tremendous progress in various fields, and these changes have significantly strengthened bilateral relations and cooperation between them.

It is expected that Chinese and Spanish leaders will frequent high-level exchanges to deepen the relationship. According to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation Josep Borrell Fontelles of Spain on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September. 

Wang said the two sides should take the important high-level exchanges within this year as an opportunity to earnestly sum up the development experience of bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries 45 years ago, in a bid to jointly well plan a new future for bilateral relations. 

"The Chinese side appreciates Spain's objective, fair and positive view on China's development and appreciates Spain's support for the Belt and Road Initiative," Wang said. 

"The two sides should focus on the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, strengthen the alignment of development strategies and open up new space for cooperation."

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation Josep Borrell Fontelles of Spain on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
[Photo/China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website]

Borrell said that Spain's foreign policy took strengthening Spain-China relations as the priority. Spain not only values China's current international status, but also is more optimistic about China's future development.

"This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Spain looks forward to the visit of Chinese leaders and will take this opportunity to further explore the cooperation potential between the two countries," said Borrell. 

"Spain attaches great importance to the important role of co-building the Belt and Road Initiative in promoting common development and is willing to actively participate in it."

At the Wednesday report launch, Rafael Dezcallar, Ambassador of Spain, spoke highly of the bilateral relationship and expressed his confidence in the great potential of further cooperation.

“The two countries have the constant and good relationship. Even in the very hard time, we kept high-level dialogue and effective communication. Although there are sectors under exploration, the relationship is very healthy and we welcome Chinese investors to our country,” said Dezcallar.

This year is also the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. Rafael said “What China has done in the past forty years was very impressive. There’s no need for China to have any advisor, as China knows what is good for itself”.

“We will be very happy to cooperate with China on various projects in the next-stage opening-up,” he added.

Zhao Chen, researcher of the Institute of European Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the trade imbalance between China and Europe is mainly in the trade of goods, while in terms of service trade, European countries have surplus with China. 

He also mentioned that with the advancement of the Belt and Road Initiative, the imbalance of goods will be gradually decreased.

Zhao also said that as an open and inclusive southern European power, Spain can play a stabilizing role in the EU, which has met multiple challenges. 

"We wish that the EU can play an independent role as an independent pole, in this the multi-polar world," said Zhao.

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