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China to Embrace Spanish Culture as Year of Spain Kicks off
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Spain's First Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega inaugurated Monday the "Year of Spain in China", in which a variety of activities will be held in China to further boost bilateral friendship and cooperation.

Fernandez said Spain attaches great importance to the relations with China and views it as an important cooperation partner.

The ties between the two countries have been moving upward since the establishment of diplomatic relationship in 1973, she said, adding that the Year of Spain in China and a reciprocal Chinese art festival in Spain are bound to further strengthen their overall strategic partnership and help promote mutual understanding between their peoples.

Qiu Xiaoqi, China's ambassador to Spain, said bilateral cooperation is going broader and deeper. He believed that the Year of Spain will facilitate the Chinese people's understanding of Spain's age-old splendid culture.

The agreement to put up the Year of Spain in China and a Chinese art festival in Spain was reached by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero during Hu's visit to Spain in November 2005.

During the Year of Spain in China, events to come include concerts, movie shows, gastronomic exhibitions, business forums and tourism promotion activities.

With their political and trade ties becoming closer, cultural exchanges have also been growing. Spain has set up a Cervantes Institute in China and hosted China's Confucius College.

Also present at the ceremony were Spanish Miguel Angel Moratinos and Juan Antonio Samaranch, ex-president of the International Olympic Committee.
(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2007)

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