Chinese President Hu Jintao
starts a state visit to Spain on Sunday at the invitation of
Spanish King Juan Carlos I, which is expected to greatly push the
Sino-Spanish relations forward.
In recent years, relations between the two countries have been
steadily strengthened, especially after the April 2004
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero paid a visit
to China this July. After his visit, the ties between the two
countries got further strengthened, with many Spanish
businesspeople flocking into China to invest in sectors of finance,
insurance, telecommunication, construction industry.
Spain has attached great importance to its relations with China.
Since their diplomatic relations was set up in 1973, the two
countries have enjoyed good friendship, with frequent exchanges of
high-level visits facilitating their mutual understanding and
Moreover, Spain has always supported China's stance on the
Taiwan issue -- a solid foundation for further development of the
The Spanish government also shares with China viewpoints on
major international issues.
Spain is against unilateralism and holds that the world should
be multipolarized and the United Nations play the leading role in
tackling world affairs.
The Spanish government has also made effort to boost trade with
China. Back in 2000, the Spanish government under former Prime
Minister Aznar mapped out the "Asia-Pacific Strategic Plan" to
enhance relations with China and other Asia Pacific countries.
Based on the strategic plan, the Spanish government produced the
"China Plan" in this May, aiming at promoting trade and economic
ties with China.
According to the plan, China together with eight other countries
will be prioritized markets of Spain and will receive investment
totaling about 690 million euros (US$815 million) from Spain
between 2005 and 2007.
Spanish media reported that in the first five months of 2005,
more than 30 Spanish companies set up offices and factories in
Chinese cities of Shanghai, Tianjin and Beijing, to bring the total
number of Spanish companies in China to nearly 300.
Meanwhile, Chinese companies have also set up offices or joint
ventures in Spain.
A Chinese diplomat in Spain said the annual trade volume between
China and Spain has increased rapidly from US$12 million in 1973 to
7.2 billion in 2004 and is hopefully to arrive at 10 billion in
Spain has now invested US$600 million in China, accounting for
only one percent of China's total foreign investment.
As Spain is the eighth biggest economy in the world with a total
GNP of 837.5 billion euros (US$990,1 billion) last year, it is
evident that there is still large room for both countries to
further their economic cooperation, the diplomat said.
Spanish companies have quickened their march toward Chinese
market. For instance the Spanish oil company CEPSA and several
other big companies have set up offices or factories very lately in
Spain claims to be the world's second most popular tourist
destination and believes Chinese tourists going out will reach 100
million by 2020. It therefore plans to receive 150,000 to 200,000
Chinese tourists in the coming three to five years.
To help realizing the plan, two Spanish airline companies the
Air Europa and Plus Comet have already started non-stop flights
between Spain and China and the Madrid Airline will follow the suit
The Spanish newspaper El pats said in a recent editorial that
Spain, though not an early player in Chinese market, will still
score great achievements and gain profits in developing good
economic relations with China.
Just as Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos put it,
Hu's visit will accelerate the progress of Sino-Spanish relations
and intensify their cooperation in various aspects.
(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2005)