NEWS

China and Greece edge closer, as PM visits Shanghai

ARISTOTELIA PELONI

TAGS: Diplomacy, Politics, Business

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis insisted on Monday in China that his government is “determined to facilitate foreign investors” in a message that was seen to not only target Beijing but other financial centers as well.

During what was described as a “warm” meeting on Monday in Shanghai with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mitsotakis said he chose to visit China after only four months in office and lead a delegation of Greek businessmen to attend its International Import Expo 2019 – where Greece is one of three honored countries – in order to highlight the priority given by his government to luring investments and to send out the message that Greece is back on the financial map.

“In this way I want to show the special significance I attach to our bilateral ties,” he told Xi.

Moreover, referring to Greece’s approval of Cosco’s master plan to upgrade the port of Piraeus, Mitsotakis said, “When we say something, we do it – not just words.”

The approval was also lauded by Cosco’s chairman, Xu Lirong, whom Mitsotakis also met. Both men said that their common goal was to make Piraeus Europe’s largest port.

For his part, Xi, who will lead a delegation of ministers on an official visit to Athens on November 10-12, said the expansion of Greek-Chinese cooperation can lead to a “win-win” situation for both sides.

“I am reluctantly ending this discussion here, but thankfully we will continue it at dinner and in a few days in Athens,” Xi was reportedly quoted as telling Mitsotakis.

The two leaders discussed Greek agricultural goods and further cooperation in the fields of energy, transport, telecommunications, tourism and the possibility, Xi said, of “Greece becoming a center of logistics.”

China’s president also suggested expanding cooperation and put forward the idea of establishing a Greek-Chinese cultural year, which would also be linked to tourism.

The Greek premier referred to the more than 1,000 new ships commissioned by Greek owners over the last 15 years and how significant it would be for Greek companies “to work with Chinese shipyards to open up the market in this way.”

“It will be a win-win for Greek producers, for Chinese shipyards and for Greek shipowners, of course, who are still building their ships in China.”

Online