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China-Spain relations see steady growth
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10:29, January 31, 2009

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will arrive in Spain later on Friday as part of his European tour, in his first visit to the country as premier.

Wen's visit will deepen the all-around strategic partnership between China and Spain, and expand the existing mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields, analysts said.

As one of the most rapidly growing EU countries, Spain now has the fifth largest economy within the EU and the eighth largest across the world.

Bilateral ties have also progressed smoothly since China and Spain established diplomatic relations in 1973, witnessing a rapid growth of links in all areas in recent years.

The countries exchange frequent high-level visits and political dialogue is also progressing smoothly. China and Spain announced the establishment of an all-around strategic partnership in 2005, laying a solid foundation for further expansion of their relationship

The Spanish leadership has provided support and showed understanding to China regarding Tibet and Taiwan. It has staunchly advocated the one-China policy and supported the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The two countries have successfully organized four China-Spain forums, which have become a platform for bilateral exchange and cooperation.

The mutual hosting of each other's cultural years and the booming Confucius Institutes in Spain and Cervantes Institutes in China have also helped promote understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

Meanwhile, bilateral trade has registered phenomenal growth in recent years, with trade volume surging from 7.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2004 to 22.7 billion dollars by October 2008.

China now is Spain's sixth largest trading partner, with fruitful ongoing cooperation in telecommunications, finance and recyclable energy sectors.

The growth in educational cooperation has also been remarkable. China and Spain signed an agreement in 2007 recognizing each other's academic degree of higher education, leading to a rapid rise in student exchange.

Over 3,000 Chinese are studying in Spain in 2008, in contrast to the less than 700 in 2005, while the number of Spanish students in China also increased to around 1,000 from the previous some 300.

The friendship between the two nations was manifested in the donations and assistance extended by the Spanish government and corporations in the wake of the devastating earthquake in China's southwestern Sichuan province last May.

Both countries believe there is huge potential for further cooperation, and that they should work together to intensify high-level contacts, consolidate mutual political trust and expand trade and other cooperation.

Source: Xinhua

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