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Remarks by Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the New Year's Reunion Hosted for the Chinese Enterprises
(King George Hotel, Athens, 10 February, 2014 )

Honorable Minister Hatzidakis,

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It’s my great pleasure to be here with all of you to celebrate the Chinese New Year of House. First of all, I would like to express particular appreciation to Minister Hatzidakis, Secretary General Komninos, Secretary General Christonpoulos, and other Greek governmental officials present today. Your presence manifested your friendship to China, your care to Chinese enterprises, and your support to Sino-Greece cooperation. Thank you so much! All the responsible persons of the Chinese Enterprises invited here tonight are the pioneers and leaders of the Chinese Enterprises in Greece. I believe tonight’s event will not only be a happy and friendly gathering, but also an opportunity for us to convey confidence and enhance communication as well as cooperation.

This year is the Year of Horse in Chinese Lunar Calendar. Horse symbolizes passion, speed, diligence, and success. It carries people’s hopes and yearnings for a good life. We have lots of horse-related idioms and phrases with good wishes in Chinese. For example, Ride the Fore-Horse (take the lead), Ten Thousand Horses Galloping Ahead (go full steam ahead), Spur on the Flying Horse (accelerate the speed), and Win Success upon Arrival of the Horse (win an immediate success), and so on. At the same time, I noticed that the Greek people also believe that horse can bring good luck. During the New Year’s celebration organized by the Greek-China Association last Friday on February 7, President Potamianos brought a strong and elegant real horse to the venue, and many pedestrians were attracted to take pictures with it.

Year of the Horse is not only about good meanings and wishes, but also about action and striving. The presence of President Papoulias to Chinese Ambassador’s Residence on Feb. 3 greatly encouraged me and all the Embassy staff. On Feb. 7, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a meeting with President Papoulias in Sochi. It was the first meeting in six years between our two heads of state, and this draws a beautiful blueprint for China-Greece relations. The two sides agreed to expand cooperation in the fields of the Pireaus Port, railway transport, ship building, trade, maritime matters, tourism, and culture, etc, which will enhance our two countries’ competitiveness and benefit our two peoples.

Today in Beijing, Deputy Minister Mitarachis of Development and Competitiveness met with Mr. Wang Chao, Duputy Foreign Minister of China. Tomorrow, he will hold talks with Mr. Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China. They will formally launching the mechanism for investment cooperation between our two governments. It is the first multi-field cooperation mechanism led by comprehensive economic authorities since our two countries established diplomatic relations in 1972. Such mechanism will play an important role in communicating development strategies and policies, and coordinating to solve concerns in cooperation between our two sides.

Furthermore, the Chinese government is organizing competitive Chinese enterprises, especially private ones, to participate the Poseidon Maritime Exhibition which will be held in June and the Thessaloniki International Fair in September. We hope that such strengthening ties between our two countries’ enterprises will act as a pushing force for Greece to converse its geographical advantage to the development and competition advantages, so as to facilitate more and more Chinese and Greek commodities to European, African and Asian markets.

Dear friends and colleagues,

2014 is a particular crucial year for both China and Greece. Back to China, the Third Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee has launched an overall arrangement on comprehensively deepening reform. The Chinese people are striving to realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we call it fulfilling the Chinese Dream. China will maintain its sustained and sound economic growth as well as opening up, this will make further contribution to promoting the peace, development and prosperity of the world.

China always supports Greece’s huge efforts in the fields of reform and development. We attach great importance to the significant role that Greece plays in EU and regional issues. We are firmly confident in the bright future of Sino-Greece cooperation, and believe that Sino-Greek cooperation is an important part of the Sino-EU relations, and that benefits China, Greece as well as EU at large. China holds that economies at different levels and phases should embrace the spirit of solidarity in difficult times, bring out their respective strengths, and join hands to meet common challenges. This way, we will open up a new prospect of economic globalization featuring win-win cooperation.

Dear friends and colleagues,

Sino-Greek cooperation is more than a highly coordinated equestrian dressage, it is a long distance race across the barriers. As the Chinese Ambassador, I promise to do my best as a bridge of communication, and provide efficient and strong support for our bilateral cooperation. I am willing to work together with the Greek side to achievement new goals.

Finally I wish the friendly cooperation between our two countries will make rapid progress in the year of Horse.

And I wish all the honored guests tonight and your families a happy, healthy and successful new year!

Thank you.

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