Athens’s aim to forge closer and deeper ties with China received a boost at the weekend with Chinese President Xi Jinping insisting in Beijing that both countries should expand their cooperation in the fields of energy, telecommunications and infrastructure.
Xi made his remarks at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which started Saturday – a Chinese initiative aimed at expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe through multi-billion-euro infrastructure investments.
Describing Greece as a vital part of Beijing’s vision to revive the Silk Route, Xi said the cooperation between the two countries “continues to glow with new dynamism,” adding that their cooperation in matters of energy, infrastructure and telecommunications must be “deep and solid.”
For his part Tsipras hailed the “very significant” deals on energy, telecommunications, shipping and tourism signed with the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China. Seeking to build further on the momentum, Tsipras said, “It is Greece’s strategic choice to strengthen ties with China on all levels.”
On Friday, the Greek infrastructure development group Copelouzos announced it had signed a deal with China’s Shenhua Group to join forces in green energy projects and the upgrade of power plants in Greece and other countries. According to a company statement, the deal will involve investment of 3 billion euros.
Beijing and Athens have been on the same page in recent years with regard to the ambition to transform Greece into a major hub for trade between Asia and Europe, with Chinese shipping giant Cosco purchasing a majority stake in the Piraeus Port Authority last year. Also last year, China’s State Grid became a strategic investor in Greek power grid operator ADMIE.