|Wang Yi: The Joint Construction of the Belt and Road Initiative Will Become a New Growth Point for China-European Union (EU) Strategic Cooperation|
On August 27, 2018, when jointly meeting the press with Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias of Greece, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed that signing the memorandum of understanding on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative between China and Greece is like installing a new high-power engine for China-Greece relations, which will surely inject strong and lasting impetus into practical cooperation between the two countries. The joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative will also certainly become a new growth point for China-European Union (EU) strategic cooperation.
Wang Yi said that as an important intersection of the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road, Greece has naturally become a natural cooperative partner of the Belt and Road Initiative. In recent years, the two countries have achieved important early harvests in connectivity cooperation, with cooperation of the Piraeus Port being one of the examples. The Piraeus Port's global ranking has currently climbed to 36 from 93 in 2010. 55 shipping lines with this port as the hub have far-reaching impact on the Mediterranean and connect various continents in the world. There are 16 to 18 freight trains departing from the Piraeus Port for the Central and Eastern European countries per week. The Piraeus Port's direct economic contribution to Greece has exceeded 0.6 billion euros, with more than 10,000 job opportunities being created.
Wang Yi pointed out that President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that the Belt and Road Initiative originates from China, but belongs to the world. It is rooted in history, but it is oriented towards the future. The Eurasian continent is a major area in the building of the Belt and Road Initiative. Jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative and connecting the Asian economic circle with the European economic circle are conducive to better complementing each other's strength, contributing to accelerating the connectivity of the Eurasia, and serving the purpose of jointly exploiting new cooperation space.
Wang Yi expressed that the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative adheres to extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, upholds openness, transparency and inclusiveness, seeks no "small cliques", sets no inhibitive thresholds, and pursues no back-room deals. All developed countries and developing countries are equal cooperative partners in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Especially in the context of rising unilateralism and protectionism, the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative is in itself an important symbol of upholding multilateralism, as well as a useful exploration in reforming and improving global governance and facilitating trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. In the cooperation process, we will stick to the rules-based approach and management in compliance with regulations, uphold high quality and high standard, and adhere to green, environmental protection and sustainability. We are willing to deeply integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with the Investment Plan for Europe and the Connectivity Plan for Europe, promote the launch of more third-party cooperation, and explore new ways of co-financing of multiple parties. We believe that the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative will surely become a new growth point for China-EU strategic cooperation.