The Chief Executive sees the visit as an opportunity to see first-hand the Chinese position on the war in Ukraine
Xi Jinping and Pedro Sanchez agreed on the trip of the Spanish president to China in the bilateral meeting held on the occasion of the G20 summit in Bali (Indonesia). An interview sought by both countries and which discussed the advisability of a visit by Sánchez in 2023, the date on which the 50th anniversary of the premiere of their diplomatic ties. An anniversary that they intend to take advantage of to relaunch relations between the two countries.
It was from that meeting in November last year, when the cabinets of the two presidents went to work to close the appointment. The Government made public this Wednesday that it will be next week, on March 30 and 31.
It is a unique moment, just after Xi Jinping spent three days in Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin. A date, not before that trip but now, that in the Moncloa want to interpret Spain as a gesture of recognition. They believe it gives it relevance as a country of weight in the European Union, which will further increase the Spanish presidency of the EU next semester.
In addition, the chosen period, they defend, places the president in a “outstanding” position because it allows him to see “first-hand” the vision of the Chinese president about the war in Ukraine.
Sánchez has not hidden the role that China can and should play in this conflict, due to the influence it has over Russia and its position as a global “relevant actor”to help end the war. The Chinese have drawn up a 13-point peace plan that Ukraine currently rejects because it does not address Russia’s withdrawal from occupied territory. Ukrainian President Vlodormir Zelensky has presented his own document of conditions to end the conflict, which in point six quotes verbatim “the withdrawal of Russian troops and the cessation of hostilities”.
China’s trade voracity
But, although Zelenski’s proposal has European backing, the Chief Executive has defended that in order for it to prosper it must have the support of the international community beyond the EU. It is unrealistic to think that Sánchez can get the support of China – an ally of Russia and not of Ukraine – but a conflict of such global importance as the one that Putin has provoked is not in keeping with the commercial voracity of the Chinese either.
In this sense, the visit can serve Sánchez to get an idea of where China breathes. Information that might now seem innocuous but could be very important once Spain assumes the presidency of the EU starting in July. The Government knows that the war in Ukraine will absolutely mark its mandate and that it must be prepared for “unexpected” events.
In Beijing, the Prime Minister He is going to meet with the three high authorities of the State: he Presidente Xi Jinping; he primer ministro Li Qiang and the Chairman of the Chinese National People’s Congress Zhao Leji; a usual protocol in State visits and shows the importance that the Chinese authorities attach to this visit.
The trip also has an important economic and commercial point of view because Sánchez will speak at the Boao Forum -the Davos of Asia- and will meet in Beijing with Spanish companies that have investments in China.
This Wednesday in Brussels, before the European Council, the head of the Executive stressed that it is important to know China‘s position regarding peace, and remind you that it will be the Ukrainians who will set the conditions for the same, which must be durable. The president will also convey in China the message that a rules-based international order must be protected and thus the territorial integrity of Ukraine must be defended.