DIPLOMATIC ROW

China and Spain put aside differences over High Court genocide case

PM Rajoy and President Xi Jinping stress strength of relations during key Beijing meeting

Spanish PM Rajoy greets Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Spanish PM Rajoy greets Chinese President Xi Jinping.Zipi (EFE)

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s official visit to China this week marks the definitive end of the diplomatic crisis sparked by a High Court case against the previous Chinese administration under the doctrine of universal justice.

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The Spanish court was pursuing legal action against the former Chinese authorities relating to accusations of genocide in Tibet, but the Popular Party government of Mariano Rajoy made changes to the relevant legislation that ensured the case could not be pursued.

Without explicitly mentioning the diplomatic incident, both Rajoy and Chinese President Xi Jinping made indirect references to it in their opening speeches during their key meeting at the People’s Palace in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

“Spain is one of China’s best friends in the European Union,” Xi explained. “In spite of the distance and the different social and cultural systems, there is no fundamental conflict of interest between us. You are a prime minister with a great deal of experience, who has given a lot of importance to relations with China,” the president continued, going on to say how much he loved Spain, a country he had visited “on a number of occasions” and that had made a “profound impression” on him.

In spite of different social systems, there is no fundamental conflict of interest between us” President Xi Jinping

“China and Spain have always been friends,” Rajoy responded. “They have a good strategic relationship and there are no bilateral problems at the current time.”

With the crisis over, Rajoy is free to focus on the real objective of his visit: finding Chinese investors for Spain and closing major deals between firms from the two countries.

In fact, Rajoy has failed to make a single mention of China’s human rights record during his trip, so as not to cause offense that might prove an obstacle. ”The fundamental objective of my visit is to improve political relations, as well as economic relations,” he stated unequivocally in the presence of Xi. “It is very important that Chinese investments in our country are improved, as well as those of Spain in China.”

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