Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Spanish King Felipe VI in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 9, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
ASTANA, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Spanish King Felipe VI on Friday, saying China welcomes Spain's participation in the building of the Belt and Road.
Xi said China and Spain should make full use of the China-Europe freight train from the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu to the Spanish capital of Madrid.
Noting that China attaches great importance to the China-Spain relations, Xi voiced appreciation for the Spanish royal family's long-standing, firm support to the development of ties between the two countries.
China is willing to work with Spain to elevate the two countries' comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, so as to better benefit the two peoples, he said, adding that the two sides should have closer high-level contacts and firmly support each other on issues concerning their core interests and major concerns.
He stressed the alignment of the two countries' development strategies, saying China and Spain should deepen cooperation in such fields as finance, telecommunications, renewable energy, agriculture, biomedicine, aerospace and aviation.
The two countries should strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, boost interactions at local levels, expand cooperation in areas like education, tourism and sports, said Xi.
The Chinese president also called on the two countries to maintain consultation and cooperation on international and regional hot-button issues, saying they should advance the economic globalization toward a more open, inclusive, universally beneficial and balanced direction.
China firmly supports the European integration process, said Xi, urging further development of the four partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization between China and Europe.
Xi expressed his hope that Spain would continually play an active role within the European Union and make positive contributions to the long-term, healthy and stable development of the China-Europe relations.
For his part, King Felipe VI hailed the time-honored bilateral friendship, saying the two countries have made achievements in exchanges and cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, politics and culture on the basis of mutual respect.
Spain is willing to work with China to consolidate political mutual trust, strengthen high-level interactions, and deepen practical cooperation in various fields, said the king.
He said the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will boost the global economy, adding that Spain is ready to participate in cooperation in such areas as energy and infrastructure within the framework of the Belt and Road.
Xi arrived here Wednesday for a state visit to Kazakhstan and the 17th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He will also attend the opening ceremony of Expo 2017 in Astana.