Spanish parliament speaker Jesus Posada and Chinese President Xi Jinping looked here Friday at ways to bolster bilateral relations.

A multi-party parliamentary delegation headed by Posada met with Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in the first meeting between Spanish officials and the new Chinese head of state, who took office in March.

At the start of the meeting, Xi said he was certain the visit "would serve to accelerate exchanges" between the two countries, while Posada conveyed greetings from Spain's King Juan Carlos and the monarch's "great desire" to travel to China as soon as his health permits.

Posada told reporters that he discussed with the Chinese leader ways for Spain and the Asian giant to expand economic and financial cooperation and work jointly in Latin America in a manner that ensures each contributes to the best of its ability.

They also expressed a mutual desire to strengthen cultural ties and relations among their respective peoples, Posada said, adding that a greater knowledge of one another will lead to an expanded trade relationship.

Although Spain has a chronic trade deficit with China, Spanish exports to the Asian country have grown significantly and will continue to do so in the future, the politician said.

In statements prior to the meeting, Posada said Chinese authorities had expressed great interest in a proposal under discussion in Madrid to grant residency permits to foreigners who buy pricy real estate in Spain.

Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, plans to visit China in September to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations. EFE