Chinese premier concludes visit to Greece

Updated: 2014-06-22 01:40

(China Daily)

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ATHENS - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang left here Saturday, wrapping up a three-day visit to Greece that saw the two countries reach a broad consensus on deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership.

During his visit, Li met separately with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Parliament Speaker Evangelos Vasileios Meimarakis. He also addressed the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Forum, expounding China's views on maritime affairs.

China is ready to work with Greece to achieve constant and further growth of bilateral relations and to deepen cooperation with Greece in such fields as technology, agriculture and infrastructure, Li said when meeting with the Greek president.

Li said his country sees Greece as a good friend and partner within the European Union (EU), and expects it to play an even bigger role in promoting China-Europe ties as holder of the rotating EU presidency.

In his talks with Samaras, Li said China is fully confident about the prospect of Greece's development and stands ready to further consolidate political mutual trust with the European country and lift the comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level.

He pledged to work with Greece to explore new economic growth points, especially in maritime cooperation, saying the two countries should make joint efforts in developing maritime economy, technology and tourism, and organizing the China-Greece Marine Year program in 2015.

Calling on both sides to continuously expand bilateral trade and deepen cultural exchanges, the Chinese premier appreciated Greece's efforts as the rotating EU president in pushing forward China-Europe ties.

When meeting with Meimarakis, Li said China is ready to boost exchanges and cooperation with the Greek parliament and political parties, and called on the Greek parliament to continue backing China-Greece cooperation.

The Chinese premier, accompanied by his Greek counterpart, also inspected the Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) project, which is jointly operated by Chinese state-owned shipping giant COSCO and the Greek port authority. The pair vowed to make Piraeus the top port in Europe and expand maritime cooperation.

Addressing the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Forum, Li said China is committed to settling maritime disputes through dialogue and negotiation on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. He also called for stronger maritime cooperation between the two nations.

Li arrived in Athens on Thursday after a successful visit to Britain. It was Li's first trip to Britain and Greece as premier, and another major diplomatic endeavor between China and Europe following President Xi Jinping's visit to the continent in late March.