Xi’s Spain trip to pave a new path for future cooperation

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Spain is expected to pave a new path for future cooperation and open a new chapter for bilateral relations, according to Spanish statesmen and entrepreneurs.

Xi’s state visit to Spain is scheduled from Nov. 27 to 29, marking a milestone in the history of the two countries bilateral relations. His state visit will be the first to the country by a Chinese head of state in 13 years and also falls on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Spain and China.

Spain looks forward to Xi’s visit and hopes it will be used to further explore the potential of bilateral cooperation, said Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell.

Strengthening economic and trade ties with China has become a common aspiration of the Spanish business community, said Juan Pablo Lazaro, vice president of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations.

Spain and China are active advocates and defenders of free trade, said Juan Pablo Lazaro, adding that he hopes that enterprises in both countries will use this opportunity to further expand contacts and make more contributions to the two countries’ economic development.

Spain is an important participant of the Belt and Road Initiative and also one of the founders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Spain is expected to take this opportunity to more actively participate in the construction of the initiative and further tap the potential of bilateral cooperation in trade, tourism, and culture, as well as to expand cooperation in third-party markets such as Latin America and Africa, according to Eugenio Bregolat Obiols, the former Spanish ambassador to China.

Spain is among the first EU countries to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China. Spain is presently China’s sixth largest EU trade partner and China is its largest non-EU trade partner.

Ever-growing economic and trade ties draw China and Spain closer

By Liu Xuxia, Jiang Bo, and Han Xiaoming (People’s Daily) 15:24, November 28, 2018

Photo taken in a busy street of Madrid shows an advertisement of Alipay, Alibaba’s third-party mobile and online payment platform. (People’s Daily/Ye Qi)

China and Spain, located at the east and west corners of the Eurasia respectively, have enjoyed inseparable economic ties under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Spain is China’s sixth largest trading partner in the European Union (EU), and China is the largest trading partner of Spain outside the EU. Last year, the trade volume between the two countries reached $30.94 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent year on year.

The enhanced China-Spain economic and trade cooperation has strongly boosted economic development of the two countries.

Spain, who has long been referred to as the “vegetable basket” of Europe and ranks second in EU in terms of agricultural land, is the third largest exporter of vegetables and fruits in the world.

With high-quality agricultural products, such as pork, olive oil, wine, beer, Spain is undoubtly an important source of China’s imports of fresh food.

“I had no idea that our ham could be so popular in China that our booth was crowded by people who are interested. We have every confidence in the Chinese market, and we believe that many companies will benefit from China’s development,” said Daniel de Miguel, international manager of Spanish pork association InterPorc Spain, at the first China International Import Expo (CIIE).

The CIIE offered an excellent opportunity for Spanish companies to showcase themselves, he said, adding that the Spanish brands had attached great importance to the Chinese market while pursuing internationalization.

Spain was the first European country to confirm its attendance at the first CIIE, said Lyu Fan, Chinese Ambassador to Spain.

In January, the China International Import Expo Bureau under the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, jointly held a road show with Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations in Madrid, and many Spanish firms signed up for the event at the official website of CIIE immediately after the show, the ambassador disclosed.

Comprised of 49 companies, the Spanish team of exhibitors at the first CIIE was fully equipped. Covering an exhibition area of 1,250 square meters, these companies showcased a variety of goods including food, garments, consumer goods, intelligent and high-end equipment, emerging technologies and logistics services.

The first CIIE was an important opportunity for Spain to expand exports to China, expressed Enrique Fanjul, former Commercial Counselor of Spain in China, saying that expo increased Spain’s attention to the Chinese market, and helped Chinese consumers know the high-quality products and services of Spain better.

In the “Double 11” shopping festival in China, Spain ranked the second, following Russia, among all countries in terms of the number of orders made by foreign consumers via AliExpress, a Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba’s online global retail platform.

Compared with those of the previous year, the categories of products sold to the Spanish market rose by 250 percent, with hot sellers expanding from luxury fashion brands to furniture, 3C products, and home appliances. Meanwhile, the amount of online shops owned by local people in Spain doubled during the event.

Chinese e-commerce platforms have taken root and developed vigorously in Spain, enjoying continuous growth in market share. Today, with over 7.7 million registered users in Spain, AliPress is the biggest cross-border e-commerce platform.

The rapid development of Chinese e-commerce platforms in Spain has created more and more opportunities for Spanish products to be exported to Chinese market.

Inditex, a Spanish multinational fashion group, has seen an accumulative total of around 10 billion yuan (about $1.44 billion) in volume of business since the opening of flagship stores for its seven brands at Alibaba’s B-C online shopping website Tmall.com in 2014.

In 2016, JD.com, a well-known Chinese e-commerce company, signed a cooperation agreement with Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (or ICEX), bringing Spanish enterprises selling agricultural products to the online market of China.

From 2015 to 2017, Spanish fresh products have created an annual growth of 120 percent in sales at Tmall.com.

If a mother in Madrid wants to surprise her children during holidays, she could just place an order with a mobile phone, and then get fine toys delivered from China in a few days, said Juan Pablo Lázaro, vice president of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations.

China’s e-commerce development was amazing, Lázaro expressed, adding that Chinese e-commerce platforms helped to bring more Spanish products to Chinese market faster, and at the same time madeSpanish consumers buy goods from China and around the globe conveniently.

The rapid development of Chinese e-commerce platforms meant huge market and benefits to both Spanish people and Chinese People, said Lázaro.

Jointly promote a healthy, steady China-U.S. relationship

By Zhong Sheng (People’s Daily)    16:06, December 04, 2018

China and the United States, as two major influential countries, should shoulder important responsibilities in promoting world peace and prosperity, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a working dinner with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Argentine capital Buenos Aires, on Dec.1.

The two heads of state had an in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and international affairs of mutual concern in a friendly and open atmosphere, reaching important consensus which pointed the direction for China-U.S. relations in the time to come.

Sound China-U.S. relations, Xi said, are in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the broad-based expectations of the international community.

U.S.-China relations were very special and important, Trump said, adding that it was in the interest of the two countries as well as the world that the United States and China, both countries of significant influence, maintained a good cooperative relationship.

The two presidents reached consensus on not imposing new additional tariffs and agreed to instruct the economic teams of the two sides to step up negotiations toward the removal of all additional tariffs and reach a concrete agreement that would result in win-win results.

The consensus will not only benefit the development of the two countries and the welfare of the two peoples, but also be conducive to the global economy’s stable growth. It conforms to the interests of all countries.

It is the first meeting between Xi and Trump since the latter paid a state visit to China in November last year, and also the first face-to-face communication between the two heads of state after they made two phone conversations to address China-U.S. trade tensions which started to escalate since this March.

The two presidents agreed to keep up close contacts with each other through visits, meetings, telephone calls and correspondences to continue providing guidance for bilateral ties, and to have further exchange of visits at an appropriate time.

The two presidents’ diplomacies play a strategic leading role in the development of China-U.S. relations. The benign interaction between the two heads of state has drawn a blueprint and pointed a clear direction for the sound development of China-U.S. relations.

For some time, there are negative voices in the U.S. regarding China and the general trend of the China-U.S. relationship has been the concern of the world. During the meeting, the two heads of state agreed that China-U.S. relationship had to and would be properly handled, and reached consensus to propel a China-U.S. relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.

The important consensus reached on developing bilateral relations will promote the two countries to meet each other halfway, jointly safeguard the healthy and steady development of China-U.S. relations and work for global peace and prosperity.

As the world’s top two economies, as well as the largest developed country and developing country, though the U.S. and China enjoy broad common interests and space for cooperation, also encounter divergences in some areas. Dialogues and consultations are the key to solve these issues.

The basis for cooperation can be expanded and the cake of common interest made big as long as the two sides stick to the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation on the principle of equality and mutual benefit and solve issues regarding bilateral relations through friendly negotiations.

The results of Xi-Trump meeting once again prove that there are more common interests between China and the U.S. than differences, and the two countries see greater demand for cooperation than friction. Both China and the U.S. are wise enough politically to develop bilateral ties on the basis of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

January 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-U.S. diplomatic relations. Over the past four decades, China-U.S. relations have generally moved forward steadily amidst ups and downs.

History and reality have indicated that cooperation is the best choice for both sides and win-win cooperation is the precondition for a better future.

The international situation is undergoing profound changes. Against this backdrop, China and the U.S. should follow the consensus reached by the two heads of state, proceed from the fundamental interests of the two peoples and that of people of the world to promote China-U.S. relations steadily toward a positive direction and bring more sense of fulfillment and sense of gain for the two peoples.

Giant pandas to pass on China-Spain friendship to future generations

Chinese President Xi Jinping compared giant pandas to lovely “envoys” in his signed article titled Joining Hands for New Splendor in the New Era published on Spanish mainstream media this Tuesday, remarking that they would continue to pass on the China-Spain friendship to future generations.

Giant pandas are the most popular animals at the Madrid Zoo Aquarium. Plenty of visitors come early to see these lovely creatures when the zoo just open in the morning.

Local visitors take pictures with toy pandas. Photo by Bai Yang from People’s Daily

The panda enclosure at the Spanish zoo is built in Chinese architectural style. Stories and information about giant pandas are posted in a corridor of the enclosure, and the enclosure also offers classes on giant pandas to visitors.

Giant pandas Bing Xing and Hua Zui Ba from China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding arrived at the zoo in Sept. 2007 according to a 10-year agreement on panda research between China and Spain.

Four giant panda cubs were born during the couple’s 10-year stay at the Madrid Zoo Aquarium. At present, Bing Xing and Hua Zui Ba are living with their youngest daughter Chulina born in Aug. 2016.

Local visitors take pictures with pandas. Photo by Bai Yang from People’s Daily

The beautiful panda enclosure is an attraction for local visitors. An elementary school teacher surnamed Imagulado who took 59 students on her class to see the pandas, told People’s Daily that every year her school would take the students here to watch the pandas and receive on-site education of animal protection.

“Spanish students nowadays are having more and more interests in Chinese culture, and some of my students are learning Chinese and Chinese culture during their off hours,” she said.

The teacher believes that President Xi’s visit to Spain will further promote cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Spanish Sinologist: Chinese is the Most Beautiful Language

Chinese, which is magnificent yet subtle, is the most beautiful language, said Spanish sinologist Alicia Relinque during an interview with People’s Daily in Madrid, Spain on Wednesday. She believes that Chinese literature carries both wisdom and beauty.

The female sinologist’s name was mentioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his signed article published on Spanish mainstream media on Nov. 27.

“Contemporary Spanish sinologists like Alicia Relinque and Chinese hispanists are working tirelessly to bring our people the beauty of each other’s languages and cultures,” President Xi Jinping commented in such a way.

Relinque told People’s Daily that her love for Chinese language originated from her obsession with Bruce Lee’s movies and Chinese kung fu. She has entered into a new wonderland after learning Chinese characters, literature and culture, she said.

Relinque stands in front of her shelf. Photo by Ye Qi from People’s Daily

“Spanish people need to learn and understand China, which is important,” Relinque noted, “Many people said that I had foreseen the future long ago. ”In this regard, she explained, “What I had, has and will have is pure love for Chinese literature.”

“I’m very grateful for what has been brought to my life by the thing I love, and I thank China for that. To present Spanish readers the charm of profound and interesting Chinese literature is what I’m pursuing, and sharing these valuable spiritual treasures is also what I like to do and persist in,” the sinologist remarked. Currently, she is working on the translation of Chu Ci, an anthology of Chinese ancient poetry.

The photo shows Relinque’s Spanish translation of Chinese romantic tragicomedy play “The Peony Pavilion (El Pabellón de las Peonías in Spanish)”. Photo by Ye Qi from People’s Daily

Relinque introduced that nowadays more and more Spanish people were learning Chinese language, literature and culture, which was had to imagine 10 years ago.

Now Spain is home to eight Confucius Institutes, and the number of students learning Chinese has exceeded 40,000, ranking the fist in Europe. In addition, more sinologists are entering the classrooms of Spanish schools, devoting themselves to the spreading of Chinese culture. Relinque believes that it is an important task for Spanish people to learn and understand China.

“Both China and Spain are countries with ancient civilizations and long history, which have established close cultural ties in history through the ancient Silk Road,” Relinque said.

Nowadays, China Cultural Center has been established in Madrid , and in turn, Instituto Cervantes has been established in Beijing. Compared with the past, communications between the two countries have entered an unprecedented period, Relinque noted.

“I believe these two countries will have a broader space of cultural communication in the future,” said Relinque full of expectation.

She smiles and shines with glamour in her eyes when it comes to Chinese language and China.

China full of development vitality: Argentine resident

By Pei Guangjiang, Zhou Xiaoyuan

A young lady from Argentina plays lion dancing. (Photo by Guan Kejiang from People’s Daily)

“China is a country where every place is full of development vitality. Seeing is believing,” said Jorge Moletti, an Argentine student from the Confucius Institute at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), who was impressed by Shenzhen’s modern development when he went to China last year.

“I like China very much!” said the 45-year-old man who can make daily conversation in fluent Chinese though he started to learn Mandarin not so long ago.

Moletti started learning Chinese because the company he’s working for has cooperation with China’s tech giant Huawei Technologies. Now, he has fallen in love with Chinese culture.

Locals in Buenos Aires dress in Hanfu, or Han-style clothing, to promote Chinese culture. (Photo by Guan Kejiang from People’s Daily)

Moletti is one of the increasing number of Chinese learners in Argentina, whose closer ties with China in recent years have given a boost to their people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

The Confucius Institute at UBA in the center of Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, has become a major platform to spread Chinese language and culture, and to enhance the connection between peoples of China and Argentina, since it was established in 2009.

The institute now offers Chinese courses to about 1,800 local students, and provides over 20 students with scholarships from Confucius Institute Headquarters each year.

In addition, the institute also established Chinese classes at the Argentine Chamber of Deputies and local enterprises, and provided 27 courses, including calligraphy, paper cutting, traditional Chinese painting and martial arts, for both students and other citizens.

“Argentine people have great admiration for China’s development achievements, and many of them believe that learning Chinese and knowing more about China will bring opportunities for a better self-development,” Zhang Xiwen, a Chinese teacher of the Confucius Institute, told People’s Daily.

A large number of students come to Chinese classes at night after finishing their work at daytime, said Zhang. She planned to launch online Chinese courses to meet the demands of learners living outside of the capital city.

“I love Chinese culture very much,” said Tamara Arellano, Moletti’s classmate who works for local tourism department and has learned Chinese for one year and a half.

“Chinese people are diligent and courageous people with a spirit of innovation. I think it’s the spirit that drives China’s development. Argentine people should have a deep understanding of Chinese culture and learn from China,” she said.

“Welcome President Xi Jinping to Argentina!” Moletti and his classmates were all excited about Xi’s state visit to their country.

“It’s hoped that President Xi’s visit can bring strong ‘Chinese elements’ to Argentina and upgrade the economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between both countries to a higher level,” Arellano said.

BRI brings rare development opportunities to Panama: expert

By Li Xiaoxiao

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has brought opportunities to Latin America and contributed to the harmonious progress of human society, said Eddie Tapiero, a Panamanian specialist on international affairs during a recent interview with People’s Daily.

China is willing to see the development of other countries and regions around the world, he said, adding that the BRI connects the whole globe and provides opportunities for common development.

Tapiero is the author of La Ruta de la Seda y Panamá, or Silk Road and Panama, the first book on Belt and Road study in Latin America.

Starting researching and collecting related information before China and Panama established diplomatic ties, Tapiero spent five years on writing the book.

He introduced that his original intention to write this book is to understand what the BRI truly is, as the initiative is believed to be opportunities by some and a threat by the others.

The BRI is indeed an initiative of peace and development, said Tapiero, noting the 21st century is a time of high civilization in which wars and conflicts shouldn’t occur so frequently any longer.

He believes the BRI is an opportunity for all participants to have equal dialogues and a platform for exchanges in various fields at different levels. It enables each party to find solutions and seek common development through consultations, he stressed.

Sharing similar experience in history, Latin America and China have both created splendid civilizations and weathered hardships, Tapiero said, raising a question that how could it be possible for a peaceful country like China to cause such hardships for other countries?

Today, the international situation is going through profound changes. The BRI proposed by China is not for intensifying competition but promoting coordination and cooperation, as China is a country that is willing to see the common development of mankind, Tapiero noted.

The BRI has enriched bilateral relations between China and Panama, Tapiero said.

In November 2017, China and Panama signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly promote the Belt and Road construction, the first one of this kind inked between China and a Latin American country.

“The BRI provides rare development opportunities for Panama,” said Tapiero. The Panama Canal connects not only two oceans but also two giant markets, he noted, adding that Panama hopes to become a key hub in the Belt and Road construction.