Pedro Sánchez's official trip to China has served to strengthen ties between the two countries, although it has not made significant progress in terms of bilateral economic relations or the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We are not so much facing a "historic trip", as the president described it, but a visit that, although it has contributed to the international projection of Spain on the eve of our country assuming the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

A, it is not closed with draft agreements.

Xi Jinping is the visible head of a dictatorial regime that tramples on human rights, but has emerged as a geopolitical actor of the first magnitude.

Sánchez's trip, very focused on strengthening his foreign agenda, is part of the dialogue that the European powers assume with Beijing

in an internally agreed manner. In the coming week Emmanuel Macron and Ursula von der Leyen will also visit China.

During the meeting held yesterday with the Chinese president, in correspondence with Xi Jiping's trip to Madrid in 2018, Sánchez was right to make an explicit defense of Zelenski's peace plan. Although he made an ambiguous allusion to "dialogue", the president dispelled with his words the risk that Xi would use the quote to proselytize his "peace proposal" for Ukraine. Regardless of the fact that the Chinese leader avoided referring to the matter,

Sánchez should not depart one iota from the European position, based on achieving a peace adjusted to the principles of the international order, which requires respect for the sovereignty and integrity of the attacked country.

. It should not be forgotten that, as von der Leyen has stressed, Beijing is taking advantage of the illegal war provoked by Putin to increase its influence over Moscow. Indeed, on the eve of the meeting with Sanchez, China announced greater military collaboration with Russia. Given this, as Josep Borrell has warned in these pages, it is only possible to articulate a joint purchase of ammunition between the allies.

In bilateral terms, the meeting between Sánchez and Xi presents a limited balance, with only three agreements on education, sports and food exports. In recent years, Spain-China diplomatic relations, established half a century ago, are being hampered by a certain lack of ambition on the part of the Spanish side.

Rebalancing the trade balance and alleviating an economic gap that in 2022 touched 25,000 million euros should be a priority

. The Chinese state now barely controls between 2 and 4% of Spain's trillion and a half euro public debt. However, in 2019 China became Spain's fourth largest trading partner and has been determined to pave the Silk Road for Spanish companies. Strengthening economic relations between the two countries will require more than a photograph with Xi Jinping.