The year 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Kingdom of Spain. The comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries continued to deepen and exchanges and cooperation expanded across the board.
The two countries enjoyed close exchanges at the top level and strong political mutual trust. In March, congratulatory messages were exchanged between President Hu Jintao and King Don Juan Carlos I and between Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey in celebration of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations. In March, King Juan Carlos congratulated Xi Jinping on his election as Chinese President. In October, The two presidents exchanged congratulatory messages on the national days of China and Spain. In July, President of the Congress of Deputies of Spain Jesús María Posada Moreno visited China. He met with President Xi Jinping and held talks with NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang. The two sides agreed to continue to deepen friendship and cooperation and work for new progress in China-Spain relations. CPPCC Vice Chairman Du Qinglin, CPPCC Vice Chairman and Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang and Chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the NPC Li Shishi visited Spain separately.
The two countries had frequent dialogue and contact at other levels. In April, Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation José Manuel García-Margallo visited China. He met with Vice President Li Yuanchao and held talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Finance Minister Lou Jiwei met with Minister for Economic Affairs and Competitiveness Luis de Guindos Jurado in the United States. Vice Finance Minister Li Yong and Chairman Shao Qiwei of China National Tourism Administration visited Spain. In June, Minister for Industry, Energy and Tourism José Manuel Soria López attended the seventh Meeting of China-Spain Forum and the reception marking the 40th anniversary of China-Spain diplomatic ties in China. In February, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Environment Miguel Arias Cañete attended the Roundtable Conference on Agriculture Cooperation between China and Six Southern European Countries.
The two countries enjoyed smooth progress in their trade relations. Two-way investment grew steadily. Spain was China's seventh largest trading partner in the EU. China was Spain's largest trading partner outside the EU.
Exchange and cooperation in culture, education and science and technology expanded. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the two countries held nearly 100 cultural performances of various forms in each other's countries, making the year 2013 a big year of China- Spain cultural and people-to-people exchanges. During his visit to Spain in May, CPPCC Vice Chairman and Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang and the Spanish side co-chaired the seventh Meeting of the China- Spain Intergovernmental Joint Commission on Science and Technology. In November, Minister for Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert Ortega attended the China Annual Conference for International Education 2013.
The two countries had close military-to-military exchanges. Member of the Central Military Commission and Commander of the Second Artillery Corps General Wei Fenghe and Deputy Director of the PLA General Logistics Department Lieutenant General Sun Huangtian visited Spain separately. Joint Chief of the Defense Staff Lieutenant General Juan Antonio Carrasco Juan visited China. Sub-national cooperation went smoothly. By the end of 2013, there were 24 pairs of sister provinces and cities between China and Spain.