Chinese premier visits Piraeus as Cosco eyes expansion

On the second day of a three-day business-oriented visit to Greece, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday visited the port of Piraeus, where Chinese shipping giant Cosco controls two of the three container terminals, with his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras.

Ahead of the visit, Li underlined China’s interest in expanding its presence at the country’s main port as Cosco is believed to be interested in the acquisition of a 67 percent stake in the Piraeus Port Authority, one of several state-controlled assets Greece has pledged to privatize.

Li stressed that cooperation between China and Greece is "mutually beneficial" while Samaras declared that Greece could become "China’s gateway to Europe, and the start of a European trade corridor between Europe and the Far East.

Chinese and Greek officials and entrepreneurs are signing a total of 19 deals worth an estimated 6.5 billion dollars, chiefly infrastructure, transport and energy, according to diplomats.

Earlier on Friday, Samaras and Li visited the Acropolis which the latter described to Greek reporters as "wonderful." In the afternoon, the Chinese premier is to travel to Crete where Samaras is to meet him on Saturday.