Greek-Chinese Relations: Stability in an Uncertain World

Greek-Chinese Relations: Stability in an Uncertain World


The strong multi-level partnerships between Greece and China were confirmed at the joint press conference that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held at the Foreign Ministry.

The Chief of Chinese Diplomacy is holding an official two-day visit to Greece, participating in the First Ministerial Meeting of the Ancient Civilizations Forum held in Athens on April 24th.

In their statements, Wang Yi and Nikos Kotzias stressed the deep relations of constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, and renewed their appointment for May 14-15 in Beijing where the Greek Foreign Minister will be accompanied by Alexis Tsipras to participate in the “One belt, one road” Forum, China’s strategic policy for reactivating the Silk Road.

“China is a reliable and stable friend of Greece,” said Mr. Kotzias. After 45 years of diplomatic relations between Greece and China and 11 years since the strategic partnership of the two countries was formed, what characterizes Greek-Chinese relations is “stability in an uncertain world.”

Nikos Kotzias also referred to the maritime Silk Road and the importance expressed via this plan for shipping, trade and tourism. China, he said, is not just a rising country, but it is a country that through such plans shows that it has a vision, a strategic perception of a world of stability and peace, as Greece wants it too”. He also stressed that joint efforts have been made to stabilize our region.

Amongst the key issues of discussion were cultural, educational and economic relations between the two countries, bilateral education, research and educational cooperation projects, but also the importance of the sea, with emphasis on the importance of the port of Piraeus and the investments of Cosco, as well as the need to develop the EU’s relations with China. The Greek Foreign Minister mentioned and explained to his Chinese counterpart how Greece views the problems in its region and how it acts as a State of stability.

Wang Yi expressed great pleasure in visiting Greece at the invitation of the Greek Minister, to inaugurate the 1st Conference of Ancient Civilizations together, while stressing that relations between the two countries are developing smoothly and steadily. “Greece,” he said, “is one of the first countries in the EU with which China has a strategic partnership and is one of our most trusted partners in the EU”, and noted that “the two sides always support each other on important issues and this support is a solid basis for the further development of bilateral relations.”

Specifically in reference to COSCO and the port of Piraeus, the Chinese Foreign Minister described it as “a success story of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries”, expressing the conviction that this successful cooperation will contribute to the development of the Greek economy and help it overcome the problems it faces as it “indicates the power and desire of Chinese businesses to enhance friendship and cooperation.”

“We are willing to deepen our cooperation in the fields of energy, maritime and shipbuilding industries, the agricultural sector, everywhere,” he said, and made a special reference to the tourism sector, where the aim is to increase Chinese tourists in Greece.

Finally, the Chinese Foreign Minister was questioned about his country’s position on North Korea, reiterating “China’s steady and unchanging stance. “We are insisting on the de-nuclearization of the peninsula and the preservation of peace and stability in the region. Peace is the only solution” he said, adding: “Although China is not at the center of contradictions, nor is the key to the solution in the hands of the Chinese side, it is always making efforts to re-launch talks between the parties involved with an attitude of responsibility for peace”./IBNA

Photos: IBNA/Spiros Sideris