Chinese premier's trip to bolster ties: Greek deputy PM
ATHENS - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Greece will inject fresh momentum into the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, said Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
China will hopefully reaffirm its will to take on an even greater role in the recovery of Greece's economy, Venizelos told Xinhua in a recent written interview. "It is my belief that this visit will produce considerable tangible results for our growing partnership," Venizelos said.
Venizelos said that historically speaking, Greece and China are two ancient cultures that have played key roles in the development of human civilization.
"So our ancient heritages underlie a bond of mutual respect, admiration and friendship between our two peoples," he said.
The current relationship, based on sound political relations and strong cultural exchanges, is characterized by mutual interests in a number of fields such as investment, shipping, infrastructure and trade, he added.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' visit to China last year and other high-level visits in recent years reflect the shared will of both sides to further expand and deepen their strategic partnership, said Venizelos.
The deputy prime minister said the timing of Li's visit is very auspicious, as Greece is emerging from the crisis with a market that is much more business- and investment-friendly.
The minister cited numerous investment opportunities such as the Port of Piraeus, Port of Thessaloniki, the national rail operator Trainose, the Athens International Airport, and the Thriasio Freight Center, all of which Chinese companies have strong interests in.
"Our extensive privatization program offers a great many opportunities for Chinese investments that would bring mutual benefits: improved access to European markets for China, and, for Greece, an influx of foreign investments and the creation of new jobs," he said.
One successful example of China-Greece cooperation is the operation of Port of Piraeus, one of the largest seaports in the Mediterranean Sea basin, which was partly leased to China's shipping giant COSCO in 2009.