“Spain-China relations and COVID-19: the bright and dark sides of a necessary partnership for Spain”, Mario Esteban and Ugo Armanini (Elcano, Spain)

As to whether COVID-19 will bolster or erode China’s international influence, for the time being there is no qualitative change in Spanish-Chinese relations. This does not mean that the crisis has no bearing on the evolution of bilateral relations, as it has, but rather that it boosts different trends that balance each other out. China has established itself as a key partner for Spain while at the same time certain governance shortcomings and limitations to its cooperation have become apparent. This has increased the perception of China as a threat amongst the Spanish public, which at the same time has come to identify China as its second preferred ally outside the EU. Furthermore, relations with China are entering Spain’s political debate for the first time due to the far-right VOX.

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