The phrase uttered by the President of China Xi Jinping “I am reluctantly stopping this conversation here, but we fortunately will be continuing in the evening at dinner and a few days later in Athens” reflects the excellent climate in which the meeting of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with the President of China was held in Shanghai.
During the meeting, the two leaders reaffirmed the bonds of friendship and cooperation connecting the two countries and referred to the areas in which this cooperation can be enhanced and broadened. These areas include energy, transport, telecommunications, tourism, Greek agricultural products, and the “possibility of making Greece a logistics centre”, as the Chinese President characteristically stated.
The President of China suggested enhancing the cooperation and mentioned that a cultural year of Greece and China could be launched, linked to the tourist industry, while Kyriakos Mitsotakis made a suggestion connecting ship building by Greeks in China with gains for the Greek economy.
“You are right to point out that I indeed have chosen, in just the fourth month of being Prime Minister of Greece, to come to China, to lead the Greek business mission in this very significant business forum, in order to mark in this way the special importance I attach to our bilateral relations”, the Prime Minister stressed, in his opening speech.
“You too have made a lot of references in your speeches on the closeness of our two civilizations, a closeness that goes back a very long time. However, I believe it marks the special significance of this relationship, from a cultural standpoint”, he noted.
He also pointed out, “my party, New Democracy, was the party which started out, politically speaking, our country’s economic opening up to China. I am glad I am now given the chance, as the Prime Minister of Greece, to be able to take this financial relationship – to which we attach great importance – to a special level”.
“The opportunities ahead of us are numerous and significant. Before this meeting, I had the opportunity to visit COSCO’s central offices, have a discussion with the company’s President, and confirm our absolute commitment to this extremely significant investment. What you need to keep in mind regarding the situation in Greece is that today it has a government that is determined to enable foreign investors, to attract foreign capital and create wealth and prosperity for all Greeks and to do this – as you have often stressed in your public interventions – in a sustainable way, in a way that is respectful to the environment”, the Prime Minister stated.
“We had made a commitment that we would approve of COSCO’s master plan within two months, we did, and at this time are prepared for this investment to begin and enter a new stage of upgrading the Piraeus harbour” Mr. Mitsotakis noted.
“When we say something we do it, it’s never just words” the Greek Prime Minister characteristically stated.
Speaking of the financial cooperation between Greece and China, Mr. Mitsotakis, after mentioning that in the last 15 years more than 1,000 ships by Greek ship-owners have been built with a worth of over 50 billion dollars, added: “In ships’ supply chain, it is important to look at Greek businesses which have a great know-how in ship supply and may cooperate with Chinese shipyards, so that this market can open up also in this respect. This will be a win-win solution for Greek producers, for Chinese shipyards and, naturally, for Greek ship-owners, who will continue to build their ships in China”.
At the closing of the meeting, the two leaders renewed their appointment in Athens during the Chinese President’s formal visit in Greece, to take place from 10 to 12 of November. On his part, the Chinese President invited Mr. Mitsotakis to make a formal visit to Beijing.
Meeting with Bank of China Chairman
Just before his meeting with China’s President, Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with Liu Liange, Chairman of the Bank of China, which is opening its first branch in Athens in November, with the aim of funding investments, especially in the field of green economy and energy.