(MENAFN) Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrived in China on Thursday to attend the Boao Forum for Asia on China's Hainan Island. During his speech, he defended international cooperation around trade, climate change, and the war in Ukraine. Despite their differing points of view in some areas, Sanchez emphasized the need to continue building bridges and mutual trust between nations. On Friday, he will become the third European leader to visit Chinese leader Xi Jinping since the pandemic began, following the German chancellor and the European Council president late last year.
Before his visit, Sanchez stated that the war in Ukraine would be a key point for his talks with Xi. He expressed the importance of understanding Xi's position on peace in Ukraine and letting him know that Ukrainians would establish the conditions of peace. However, his rhetoric during the Boao Forum took a more neutral and cooperative tone.
Sanchez informed the audience that he had met with more than 40 global leaders over the past week at the Ibero-American Summit and the European Council meeting. He stated that in every meeting, leaders expressed the same desire for peace, stability, and prosperity. No one wants economic fragmentation or war. Sanchez railed against economic protectionism and Russia's illegal and brutal aggression in Ukraine and called for more cooperation around global issues.
Sanchez emphasized the need to level the playing field and guarantee reciprocity among partners, opening to the East so that the West does not have to close in on itself. He added that Spain is one of the best places in Europe to invest and do business, touting its geopolitical position and green energy.
French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are set to travel to Beijing in early April. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has also stated that he would visit China soon. Sanchez's visit to China highlights the importance of international cooperation on global issues, despite differing perspectives on certain matters.
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