Greece and China strengthen and broaden their cooperation

Greece and China strengthen and broaden their cooperation

Nikos Kotzias extended an official invitation from the Greek Prime Minister to Xi Jinping for an official visit to Greece

In a particularly warm climate was held the meeting between Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, during the first day of the official visit of the Greek Foreign Minister to Beijing. It is worth noting the Chinese Foreign Minister’s move to embrace his Greek counterpart, a notion which is particularly untypical to the temperament of the Chinese people, which suggests the excellent level of bilateral relations between the two countries and the personal co-operation of the two men.

The meeting, which lasted more than an hour from the originally scheduled time, included a pricate meeting between the two ministers, extended talks and a working lunch.

The agenda of the meetings included issues of bilateral, regional and international interest, focusing on bilateral cooperation and developments and the prospects in SE Europe as, well as the EU-China relations.

During the joint press conference of Nikos Kotzias and Wang Yi, there was talk of increasing cooperation between the two sides not only in economic terms, but also in the areas of tourism, cultural relations and contacts between the citizens of the two countries.

The Greek Foreign Ministry stressed the importance of trust between the two sides, clarifying that in the context of its multidimensional foreign policy, Greece demands and appreciates respect, and when it is respected, it responds positively.

Nikos Kotzias referred to the positive co-operation agenda that has developed between the two countries, such as the initiative of the Forum of Ancient Civilizations and the cooperation in the “one belt one road” project (OBOR). Emphasis was placed on the need to increase high-level exchange visits and to establish a broader co-operation between the Foreign Ministries, to exchange views on issues of mutual interest, such as the Balkans, the Middle East and European issues.

Regarding regional issues, Nikos Kotzias developed the initiatives of Greece, with emphasis on the Balkans and South East Mediterranean, highlighting the stabilizing role of the country for the wider region, up to the Middle East. He also referred to the resolution of the nomenclature and the prospects of the Cyprus problem.

Referring to the prospects opened with the exit of Greece from the memorandums, the Greek Foreign Minister, highlighted the margins for increasing Greek exports to China in areas such as agricultural products, tourism, infrastructure, etc. It was also agreed that the talks on the finalization of the next five-year action plan in the field of economic cooperation should be further advanced.

Finally, Nikos Kotzias invited his Chinese counterpart to officially visit Athens at a time agreed upon through the diplomatic channel, while also extened an invitation by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping to officially visit Greece.

Wang Yi spoke about Greece’s role in the region as a pillar of stability and security, highlighting the initiatives of Greek foreign policy and welcoming the Prespes Agreement, which will lead to the strengthening of the regional role of Greece, as he estimated.

He also congratulated the Greek government on exiting the memorandums, stressing that this development will open a new chapter on the country’s development. Regarding bilateral trade, he welcomed the growing Greek exports to China, inviting Greece to participate with a high-level delegation at the forthcoming Shanghai international export exhibition in China on November 5-10.

Wang Yi also referred to the next One Belt One Road Summit to be held in Beijing in April 2019, stressing that the aim is to continue and strengthen the initiative, which has proved to be beneficial to the development of all the countries that participate in it, with Greece being a “natural partner” “of China.

The two Foreign Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation in the 21st century silk road that is part of the Chinese Initiative (OBR). This Memorandum provides for the strengthening and intensification of relevant cooperation in areas such as infrastructure connectivity, unhindered promotion of trade, financial cooperation and contacts between citizens. For the latter, multi-level synergies are envisaged, such as tourism, science and technology, education and culture, sport, youth and local authorities.

Earlier, the Foreign Minister had a meeting with senior Chinese Communist Party officials, the Secretary of the International sector of the Party, Mr. Song Tao, with whom he discussed mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries and the multi-level development relationship between the two peoples. The Greek Foreign Minister analyzed the international relations under the Greek perspective, recognizing China’s important role in a period of upheavals, such as the current one. He also did not fail to mention the constructive role of Greece for the security and stability of the region.

On Tuesday, August 28, Nikos Kotzias will start his contacts with the morning meeting with the Chinese Communist Party, Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Wang Qishan, followed by a meeting with the head of the Central Committee of International Relations of the CCP, Yang Jiechi. He will then address the State Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), the largest think tank in Asia, with a speech entitled: “Greece-China: Common and Different. Past and Future “. In the evening he will depart for Shanghai where he will complete his contacts in China./IBNA