PRESS RELEASE 131
Meeting between Minister for Foreign Affairs and Director of Central Foreign Affairs Commission of Chinese Communist Party, Yang Jiechi
03/09/2020
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, and the Director of Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party and Politburo member, Yang Jiechi, held a meeting today on the occasion of the visit by the latter to Spain. They addressed the main aspects of bilateral relations, and questions of common interest on the international agenda. The minister highlighted the fluid relations between Spain and China during this health crisis. China and the EU share the basic ideas on how to tackle the COVID19 pandemic, considering a vaccine as a global public asset.

They reviewed the state of economic and bilateral trade relations. China is Spain’s third largest supplier and tenth largest customer, with an aggregated trade volume of 36 billion euros in 2019. The two parties agreed to boost exchanges of agri-food, industrial and services products, as well as investment flows. The minister also identified areas with a great potential for collaboration, such as culture, sport and Spanish language-learning, reflected in the fact that in 2018, China included Spanish among the foreign languages on the official secondary school curriculum.

They also addressed multilateral questions. Both parties welcomed the fact that, despite the change in schedules caused by the pandemic, the annual EU-China Summit could be held on 22 June this year. The minister underlined Spain’s wish to satisfactorily finalise negotiations on the European Union-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment in the spirit of the Joint Declaration formalised at the 21st EU-China Summit in 2019.

As regards the question of the introduction of 5G networks, the minister indicated that Spain does not agree with confrontational dynamics, advocating a rollout that always guarantees security and respect for principles of privacy, autonomy and reciprocity, in a free and inclusive process in which companies compete on a level playing field. All of this without prejudicing Spain’s intention to continue strengthening our significant bilateral cooperation with China at a technological level. She also addressed the situation in the South China Sea, reiterating Spain’s position in favour of the freedom of navigation and overflights, and the peaceful resolution of differences through agreements between parties based on the International Law of the Sea.

As regards the situation in Hong Kong, the minister reiterated her support for the principle of “one country, two systems”. Spain is convinced that the democratic debate and respect for the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong constitute the best way to guarantee its autonomy and stability, while maintaining its attraction as a financial and business centre. The minister conveyed to Yang Jiechi the importance of China allowing access by independent observers to the region of Xinjiang.

Spain and China share a common concern over other important global matters, such as the fight against climate change. In this regard, the minister expressly mentioned the importance of supporting protected Antarctic marine areas as a clear example of commitment to this fight. Lastly, the two parties exchanged perspectives on the importance of strengthening multilateralism to deploy effective leadership in the defence of global interests. Along this line, the minister conveyed to the Director the importance of China signing up to the talks that are taking place to study the renewal of the New START and addressing other questions related to the control of weapons and new technologies.


-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-​

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