Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with King Felipe VI of Spain on Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
President Xi said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties half a century ago, China and Spain, in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, have deepened friendship, promoted cooperation, established and developed a comprehensive strategic partnership, and delivered tangible benefits to the two peoples.
He added that China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral relations and is willing to work with Spain to take the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties as a new starting point to consolidate political mutual trust, expand mutually beneficial cooperation, enhance the people-to-people bond and jointly write a new chapter for China-Spain friendship and cooperation.
Felipe VI said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, Spain-China relations have been developing steadily, with continuous progress in cooperation in various fields and deepening friendship between the peoples.
He continued that the two countries will take the 50th anniversary as an opportunity to expand friendly exchanges and practical cooperation in an all-around way and jointly tackle climate change and other global challenges.
Political mutual trust and smooth economic development
China and Spain established diplomatic relations in 1973 and the political relations have been strengthened by mutual high-level visits. In 2005, the two countries uplifted bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership. In 2018, President Xi visited Spain to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. The two sides signed a number of bilateral cooperation documents and issued a joint statement on strengthening comprehensive strategic partnerships in the new era.
President Xi also met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia last year. He pointed out that the sound and smooth development of the China-Spain relationship is attributed to the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and the right path of friendly interactions between countries with different cultures and systems.
In recent years, bilateral trade between China and Spain has maintained steady growth, showing strong resilience and vitality. China is now Spain's largest trading partner outside the EU, while Spain is China's fifth largest trading partner within the EU. Official data shows that bilateral trade in goods reached an unprecedented $51.5 billion in 2022, with a year-on-year growth of 6.5 percent.
As of February 2022, Spain's total investment in China surpassed $4 billion, with more than 790 companies established in China. Spanish companies are actively exploring the Chinese market and have participated in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) for five consecutive years.