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China, Spain Establish Strategic Partnership
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China and Spain announced a strategic partnership yesterday on the second day of President Hu Jintao's state visit to Spain.

The joint declaration was made after talks between Hu and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who visited China in July.

Hu said that, over the years, Spain and China have built strong ties in a range of areas, including economy, culture, tourism and justice.

But under the strategic partnership agreement, "bilateral relations will enter a new phase of development," he stressed.

To date, China has strategic partnerships with Britain, France and Germany in the European Union.

Addressing the Spanish parliament earlier yesterday, Hu told legislators that both countries have significant common interests.

As a sign of closer bilateral cooperation, the two countries inked 13 accords covering a wide range of fields such as extradition, economy, trade, science and technology as well as culture.

In line with the deals, Spanish firms will be allowed to participate in the Chinese nuclear energy sector.

Spain is the final leg of Hu's three-nation European tour, which has taken him to Britain and Germany.

Yesterday morning, Hu was officially greeted by King Juan Carlos at the Pardo Palace. The two are scheduled to preside over a seminar today to be attended by more than 600 business representatives from both countries.

In an interview with China Daily, Jose-Pedro Sebastian de Erice, Spain's Ambassador to China, said Spain welcomes a peaceful and prosperous China and hopes cooperation in more fields.

He added that the two countries have collaborated on environmental protection, developing renewable energies and public works.

He revealed that Spain would open the Instituto Cervantes, a center to promote the Spanish language and culture, in Beijing next year.

Spain will stage a Cultural Year of Spain in 2007 in China, while a Chinese Arts Festival will be held in Spain the same year, according to de Erice.

On Sunday afternoon, Hu met with former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who co-chairs the China-Spain Forum.

He spoke highly of Samaranch's role in promoting Sino-Spanish ties and his painstaking efforts to run the forum.

Hu also commended Samaranch for his support to the development of the Olympic movement in China.

Spain has experience in hosting the Olympics and other major sports events, and China and Spain can strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Hu added.

Samaranch said he is convinced that the 2008 Olympic Games would be a great success.

(China Daily November 15, 2005)

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