“In Athens, as in Shanghai, we find that our relations are warmer than ever. Confidence is a given,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday, during joint statements with the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping in Athens.
Mitsotakis said that they had a productive discussion and thanked China for supporting Greece during the years of crisis.
He also announced that he will pay a new visit to China in April, as this will strengthen the two countries’ relations.
The Greek prime minister stated: “We are expanding our relationship with China now that Greece is once again taking on a lead role.”
Mitsotakis referred to the importance of the 16 agreements that are to be signed during the visit and the port of Piraeus, which is becoming a major transit hub. He welcomed the opening of Chinese banks in Greece and stressed the importance of strengthening the flow of Chinese tourists to Greece.
“China and Greece are partners for the establishment of one belt, one road. This initiative must be strengthened by the further development of your country. We look forward to implementing partnerships in many areas and we want to strengthen Piraeus’s role in transit and further enhance the transport capacity of the China-Europe land-to-sea express line,” the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping said.
“We want trade to continue, an expansion of bilateral trade and mutual investments, as well as to have investments in the energy, transport and banking sectors,” the Chinese President said and added:
“We will organise and host a year of culture and tourism between our two countries in 2021 and we want to enhance the teaching of our languages and strengthen contacts between academic communities so that we can get to know our cultures better.”
“We need to strengthen the China-EU integrated strategic relationship and the 17 + 1 mechanism. We want to demonstrate the positive synergy of our cooperation for positive growth. We have also decided to work more closely on international affairs for the multipolar world and for peace. Confucius said that virtue is not left to stand alone. And Aristotle said that the true friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. These things unite our two great countries: equality, mutual respect, cooperation, an open mind, inclusive growth and a determination to move forward in the future,” the Chinese President concluded.
Pavlopoulos: Significant upgrade of Chinese-Greek relations
The President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, welcomed the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, at the Presidential Mansion in Athens on Monday.
Pavlopoulos underlined that Xi Jinping’s visit to Athens significantly upgrades the strategic relationship between Greece and China, which began with Cosco’s investment in Piraeus port in 2006, under a government headed by Costas Karamanlis. This upgrade in the two countries’ relations was also confirmed by the recent visit carried out by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the 2nd China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Pavlopoulos added.
At the same time, he pointed out that the Greeks are paving the way for China to meet, in conditions of peaceful cooperation and creativity, the states and peoples of the European Union so that, in full compliance with international and European Law, Greece and China can play their proper roles.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Pavlopoulos referred to the country’s achievements, noting that many of them were due to Xi Jinping’s significant abilities as a leader and politician. In particular, he highlighted the impressive efforts made to improve the standard of living of China’s hundreds of millions of citizens, as well as its breakthroughs in the fields of economy, education and technology.
Concerning China’s international position, Pavlopoulos stressed its emergence as a global economic player and a driver of growth on a global scale. In this context he referred to China’s new Belt and Road initiative, namely the New Silk Road, which will also serve as a “bridge” between China and the West, especially the European Union.
The president noted that Greece is also a participant in the framework of these initiatives, which now complement the BRI initiative, in the area of Central and Eastern Europe, adding that cooperation in this respect is based on the faithful observance of International Law and the European Acquis, as a whole, given that Greece, as a member of the EU and its inner core, the Eurozone, is committed to fully observing all EU laws.
He recalled the position that China’s President had expressed during their meeting in Beijing, when he said that he was in favour of a strong EU and of the integration of the European edifice, so that it was capable of playing its historic global role in establishing the principles of humanity, peace, justice, and especially social justice, on a global scale.
Pavlopoulos then emphasised that the strongest support for Greek-Chinese relations and their creative commitment to the future is the one that the two civilisations have built over the centuries. As he pointed out, Greece and China derive from ancient civilisations whose natural and self-evident differences, far from dividing them, served to unite them in the sense that they function harmoniously, in complementary fashion and dialectically.
He also reiterated to his Chinese counterpart that, as they had noted in the context of the Asian Culture Dialogue last May in Beijing, “Real civilisations do not clash. This is because they are, by their very nature, destined to be chosen and to serve humanity and peace. In other words, real civilisations build bridges of communication, they do not erect walls of separation.”
Xi Jinping: Cooperation of two great civilisations
President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping noted that cooperation between Greece and China was a “cooperation of two great civilisations” and not just cooperation between two countries, in statements during his meeting on Monday morning with the President of Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion in Athens.
The Chinese president, who is paying an official visit to Greece, thanked Pavlopoulos for the warm reception and hospitality, noting that he has great expectations for the future of Greek-Chinese cooperation, noting that both countries are proud of their cultural heritage and have fought hard to build a modern country.
A meeting between Greek and Chinese delegations was held during the Chinese president’s visit to the presidential mansion, where participants on the Greek side included Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Justice Minister Costas Tsiaras, Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Deputy Minister of Economic Diplomacy to the Foreign Ministry Costas Fragogiannis, Greek Parliament Vice President Charalambos Athanassiou, the general secretary of the Greek presidency Giorgos Gennimatas and other officials.
Participating on the Chinese side were the Foreign Minister of China, the Minister of Commerce and other top officials of the Communist Party of China.