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Spanish PM to visit China next week

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Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week to discuss the Asian country’s peace plan for Ukraine, the Spanish government said Thursday.

Sanchez will be only the second leader of a European country to visit China since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic three years ago, after Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit in November 2022.

He will attend the Boao Forum for Asia in China’s Hainan province on March 30 before heading to Beijing to meet with Xi, the Spanish government said in a statement.

“China can play a very important role in the mediation between Russia and Ukraine, and this will of course be one of the themes” Sanchez will discuss with Xi, Spanish Parliamentary Affairs Minister Felix Bolanos told public television TVE.

“It is essential that this conflict ends and that Russia recognises that this is an absolutely unjustified aggression and, therefore, that everything returns to the situation that prevailed before the Russian invasion,” he added.

Spain, like the EU, has given Ukraine its unconditional support and will soon send up to 10 Leopard tanks to Kyiv.

China has presented a 12-point position paper on the war which includes a call for dialogue and respect for all countries’ territorial sovereignty.

Xi made a high-profile visit to Moscow earlier this week which was interpreted as a strong show of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian president praised Beijing’s 12-point position paper on the conflict. But the United States and the European Union remain doubtful of the Chinese proposal.

“Of course, we would like there to be a ceasefire as soon as possible but (…) it will require a lot of work from a diplomatic point of view,” Bolanos said.

Sanchez’s visit comes as Spain, a member of NATO, is preparing to assume the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) in July.

Sanchez and Xi last held bilateral talks in November 2022 during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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