China and Greece look to closer ties, as FM heads to US

Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis continued his visit to China on Friday by holding talks with Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing, where both men pledged to strengthen ties between the two countries.

During the two-hour meeting, the pair reaffirmed the commitment of Greece and China to draw up a three-year plan of action regarding their relations. Dragasakis said the government wants to use the progress made so far to “deepen and grow” ties with China.

Ma told Dragasakis that China is ready to expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation in line with the principle of mutual respect, trust and benefit, according to the Xinhua news agency. Dragasakis also assured Beijing that the tender of a 67.7 percent stake in the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), for which Cosco is in the driving seat, would go ahead in the next few days. Dragasakis said he is sure Cosco will submit a “very competitive” offer for OLP.

It also emerged on Friday that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has been invited to Washington for talks on April 22. It is thought that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may follow with a trip to the USA later this year.

The Republican senator who had blocked the annual Senate resolution marking Greek Independence Day due to his objections to comments by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos relented on Friday. Senator Dan Coats suggested via Twitter that he had been contacted by Greece’s ambassador to the US, Christos Panagopoulos, who assured him that Kammenos’s comment regarding allowing undocumented migrants into other parts of Europe was not official government policy.

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