China’s outgoing ambassador to Greece, Luo Linquan, told Sunday’s Kathimerini that his country is confident Athens will overcome its debt crisis and that Beijing has already forged plans to buy Greek bonds and to invest in new projects.
Luo, who is due to leave Athens at the end of the month, revealed that China has not been phased by the debt crisis. “We believe that the so-called difficulty that Greece is facing today is temporary,” he said. “I am glad that an increasing amount of Chinese companies are expressing an interest in working with our Greek friends.”
Questioned about whether Beijing planned to invest in Greek government bonds, the ambassador said, “The process of buying Greek bonds has been set in motion.”
In an interview with China’s official Xinhua News Agency, Luo indicated that Chinese firms could be interested in Greek privatizations. “Greece needs structural reforms and privatization reforms,” he said. “Some transport, new energy, power, water and other basic facilities will gradually be opened by tender by foreign companies. These are projects that Chinese companies are quite good at.”
Speaking to Kathimerini, Luo cited the operation of a container terminal at Piraeus by Cosco as a good example of the fruitful cooperation between Greece and China. “Not only has the Chinese side started to see profits, but the prosperity and interests of Greek workers are being safeguarded,” he said. “The Greek and Chinese sides are making an effort to create the biggest transport and distribution station [for goods] from Asia to Europe, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.”
Luo added that Beijing is hoping to have more frequent direct flights between China and Greece in the next few months, which should boost visitor numbers from China.