|Address by Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the "Happy Chinese New Year" Celebrations- Performance by China Anhui Art Troupe|
Your excellency, Mr. Arisidis Baltas, Minister of Culture and Sports,
Your excellency, Mr. Costas Simitis, former Prime Minister of Greece,
Your excellencies, diplomatic envoys,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Tonight we are gathered here in Megaron to welcome the Chinese New Year, a year of the monkey, which falls on February 8th this year. Compared with last year, the year of the goat, the year of the monkey will arrive 11 days earlier. Maybe it is because the monkey, which is smart and cute but a little bit impatient, cannot wait to express sound wishes to us. What will year of the monkey bring to China-Greece relations?
First and foremost, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Greece. There will be a series of high-level visits, which will bring mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries to a new high.
Second, China will expand investment in Greece, especially in ports, ship building and maintenance, and logistics, which will create more jobs for Greece. We will work with Greece to build the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Route to connect the maritime Silk Road with the Silk Road on land, thus making Greece an important hub of trade between East Asia and West Europe.
Third, the Chinese Cultural Center in Athens will begin to operate, which will add another important platform for the two ancient civilizations to conduct cultural exchanges and enhance friendship between the people.
Fourth, the Asia-Europe Scientific Innovation Conference will be held in Athens. As coordinator for Asia and Europe respectively, China and Greece will play important roles and jointly promote cooperation in scientific innovation in the framework of Asia-Europe cooperation.
Fifth, the year 2016 will be a year of cultural exchanges and cultural industry cooperation. The purpose is to combine rich cultural resources of the two countries with trade and investment cooperation so that culture and economy can reinforce each other.
Sixth, Chinese tourists to Greece are expected to continue to grow markedly. Air China will upgrade the flights between Beijing and Athens with larger and newer planes starting from June 1. The relevant authorities of both sides will adopt new measures to enhance cooperation in tourism.
Seventh, China and Greece will enhance coordination and cooperation in regional affairs to jointly deal with challenges and safeguard regional peace and stability.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Having helped each other in difficult times in the past, China and Greece are also partners pursuing common development. Our two ancient civilizations have created splendid histories and will march together hand-in-hand. No difficulty can hinder us. I believe that in the new year, friendly cooperation between China and Greece will continue to enjoy vigorous support and active participation from both countries and usher in fruitful results.
I would like to wish all of you a very happy and auspicious year of the monkey!
Now, I invite all of you in joining me to give big applause to the artists from China's Anhui Province.