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Congratulatory Message of the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the occasion of celebrating the Chinese National Day.

Celebrating the National day of yours gives me the opportunity to reach you and convey the warmest wishes from the people of Greece, an ancient civilization, to the Chinese people, who enjoy a similarly long and profound history.

As the Greeks, the Chinese people met many obstacles during the long course of history but succeeded in coping with them because of sacrifices and determination. As Confucius said, “the greatest glory is not that of never permitting to fall down but to get up every time we fall.” Although they had difficult times in their history, both people are well known to be reborn and revitalized. They have also left a remarkable impact on world history as two of the most ancient and greatest civilizations of the world.

Philosophy, medicine, science, and arts flourished in our countries and were brought to the rest of humanity through Hellenic navigators and Chinese merchants who travelled the Silk Road, the artery of life which connected China with the rest of the world. And it was not only a way to transport goods and carry out trade but was also a passage of ideas and culture.

I am delighted that today, this Road has been revived worldwide by land and sea and unites us all again. One of the most important ports of the Mediterranean, the Port of Piraeus, sets the gate of communication for today’s China with Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East.

The sea has been for our people an element of connection that has united us since ancient times. Today, Hellenic ships carry large volumes of Chinese goods, Chinese shipyards build Greek ships, Greek cruise ships host Chinese tourists who wish to enjoy the Greek summer. We decided to emphasize on this element by setting the year of 2015 as the year of maritime cooperation between China and Greece. We hope that in the future, our cooperation will be further strengthened and enriched to bring win-win results to both countries.

Greece, after a difficult period for its economy, has decided to stand up and open the gates for international cooperation. In this struggle we wish China a significant role, not only because it is considered to be one of the strongest economies today but because in difficult times China offers us the support of a good friend.

We want more Chinese businesses to invest in Greece and more Greek products to reach the Chinese and Asian markets. We hope at the same time to support this cooperation on a solid basis. For that purpose, we need young people who comprehend the reality, the languages and the cultures of our countries. That’s where cooperation on education comes in. By now, many young Chinese have studied the Greek language and culture and many Greeks have been in Chinese universities. But we need more.

We need to know each other’s culture better. So let’s unite our museums and our libraries. Let’s exchange exhibitions. Let’s get together our scientists and artists. Let’s try together to interpret our ancient scripts and let us know the contemporary ones through the works of today’s creators of each country. In closing let me also refer to two quotes which prove the relevance of ancient thoughts of our two countries. “The real knowledge is to know the size of ignorance”, said Confucius. “I know that I know nothing”, said Socrates. And I can assure you that Greece eagerly walks the path that leads to the strengthening of its relations with China

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