By Hua Fang, Ye Qi
Xi Jinping, Chinese President
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Greece will bring China-Greece bilateral relations onto a new stage, said Giannis Plakiotakis, Minister for Shipping and Island Policy of Greece during an exclusive interview with People’s Daily.
The minister, who accompanied Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), told People’s Daily that their trip to China was fruitful.
Plakiotakis noted that China and Greece have always maintained sound and close cooperation regarding marine affairs. On one hand, Chinese shipbuilding enterprises have earned deep trust from Greek shipowners, and over 1,000 of Greece’s vessels were built in China in the past 15 years alone, with a total value of $50 billion; on the other hand, the frequent visits paid by Greek ships to Chinese ports indicated the increasingly deepening marine cooperation between the two countries.
Greece is the first developed country in Europe to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China to jointly construct the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Plakiotakis said that located in the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa, Greece can serve as a bridge.
Belt and Road countries, including Greece, share common interests, and the Chinese investment in the Piraeus Port has set a very successful example. This further proves that the cooperation between the two countries can achieve success and win-win results, the minister remarked.
Plakiotakis noted that the Greek government hopes to further reinforce its strategic cooperation with China, and plans to take a further step to promote the development of the Piraeus Port, which has received investment from China COSCO Shipping.
He introduced that the Committee of Planning and Development of Ports (ESAL) of Greece has approved a master plan submitted by the Piraeus Port Authority S.A (PPA S.A) that is now operated by China COSCO Shipping, agreeing to another investment totaling 600 million euros.
At present, the Piraeus Port has grown into the No.1 container terminal in the Mediterranean, and the Greek government plans to make it the best in Europe, Plakiotakis said. He believes that Greece-China relations are at the best in history, and the approval of the master plan is the best proof.
As a fan of Chinese culture, Plakiotakis holds that both Greece and China are important ancient civilizations, and they share a great number of common values and development goals in many fields. The development of their bilateral relations is manifested in different sectors such as politics, economy and culture.
Our cooperation experiences are worth sharing, be it at present or in the future, he said.
Source: People’s Daily