According to the official transcript, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart from Spain, Arancha Gonzalez, raised the importance of promoting joint action between Beijing and the European Union in sectors such as trade, energy, tourism and “people to town” exchange.
He stressed that the Asian nation is willing to join efforts with all parties to ensure the safe and successful celebration of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games.
But he called on Europe to be cautious and rejected external interference in Xinjiang and Hong Kong-related affairs, stressing that such measures would only undermine the mutual trust and interests between the two sides.
Wang, among other things, called on Spain to provide a more open business environment for Chinese companies, and called on the two countries to oppose unilateralism and support reform of the World Trade Organization.
Gonzales, in turn, indicated that Madrid is ready to conduct constructive exchanges with Beijing on the basis of mutual respect, in addition to supporting constructive dialogue and the continuous development of the eastern country’s relations with the European Union.
The official memo added that it was also agreed on the importance of accelerating economic and trade cooperation, expanding investments, and ensuring compliance with international rules.
The conversation between Wang and Gonzales comes amid severe tensions in China and the European Union after the exchange of sanctions related to the issue of human rights for ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, northwestern Asian region.
At the end of last month, European foreign ministers signed a compendium of punitive measures against four officials and a Chinese company, citing ill-treatment in the Uyghur Autonomous Region, with a strong Muslim presence.
It was the first time in 30 years that the bloc had initiated such measures, but the European Parliament also abruptly canceled a meeting on the BIT and some lawmakers called for a boycott.
Beijing responded with equal force to all these measures, rejecting allegations of human rights violations on its soil, calling for rationality, and warning that if Western hostility persists, it will be forced to respond in defense of its sovereignty and interests.
In this context, clothing brands such as Sweden’s H&M, and the US companies Gap, Nike and New Balance, among others, are facing strong controversy in China as they have stopped purchasing cotton from Xinjiang due to the alleged forced labor there.
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