Spanish PM to meet Xi in China next week
March 23, 2023 07:59 PM
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday he will meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week to discuss China's peace plan for Ukraine.
"I think it is important to learn first-hand" what China's position is, Sanchez told reporters in Brussels where he was attending a European Union leaders' summit.
It is also important to remind Xi "that it will be the Ukrainians themselves who will establish the condition for the start of that peace, when it arrives," he added.
"Lasting and stable peace" between Russia and the Ukraine can only be achieved with "respect for the territorial integrity (of Ukraine) which was violated by Russia", said Sanchez.
He 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 Hainan province on March 30 before heading to Beijing to meet Xi, the government said in a statement.
Spain, like the EU, has given Ukraine its unconditional support and will soon send up to 10 Leopard tanks to Kyiv.
Sanchez's visit comes as NATO-member Spain prepares to assume the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) in July.
"This will be a good opportunity...to explain what will be the goals of the Spanish presidency of the EU," Sanchez said.
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 wary of the Chinese proposal.
"China can play a very important role in the mediation between Russia and Ukraine," Spanish Parliamentary Affairs Minister Felix Bolanos told public television TVE on Thursday.
Sanchez and Xi last held bilateral talks in November 2022 during the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.