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Ambassador Zou Xiaoli Attended the Ceremony of the Issuance of Souvenir Stamps for "2015 China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year"

On February 3, the ceremony for the issuance of souvenir stamps for the “2015 China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year” was held by the ELTA at the National History Museum in Athens. Over 100 delegates attended the event including Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli, Minister Dritsas of Shipping and Island Policy, Mr. Kourakis, First Deputy Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, Deputy Minister Petropoulos for the Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity, Mr. Tzortzis, Secretary-General for the Ministry of Infrastructure, Mr. Melachrinos, ELTA President, and representatives of the Diplomatic Cabinet of the Prime Minister, the Diplomatic Office of the President of the Hellenic Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture as well as China-Greece Friendship Organizations, Chinese institutions and Chinese communities in Athens.

In his speech, Ambassador Zou said that the “2015 China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year” is an unprecedented event that is worth recording. It is the first time that China has carried out a cooperation year themed on the sea with a foreign country, which reflects the sincere wish and tremendous potential of China to expand maritime cooperation with Greece and jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Thanks to joint efforts of the two sides, nearly 30 projects have been implemented in the maritime cooperation year, covering various areas including ports, shipping, shipbuilding, maritime technology, and maritime culture, with fruitful results and important breakthroughs.

Ambassador Zou pointed out that the maritime cooperation year has greatly enriched practical cooperation between the two sides, cultivated new growth points and enhanced the bond of friendship between the two countries. It is worth special mentioning that it has also had an amplifying effect on China-EU relations as a whole. At the end of last year, the closing ceremony of the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year was held in parallel with China-Southern Europe Maritime Cooperation Forum. Prime Minister Tsipras sent Minister Dritsas to attend these events. As the representative of the six southern European countries, Minister Dritsas addressed the China-Southern Europe Maritime Cooperation Forum, saying that Greece would like to work with China to establish a regional mechanism for maritime cooperation with China, which received great media attention.

Ambassador Zou stressed that on January 20th Greece made the formal announcement that Cosco was selected as preferred investor for the majority stake of PPA, which was a case for win-win benefits and a crucial step for China-Greece and China-EU maritime cooperation. It is the ardent hope of the Chinese side that the Court of Audit and the Hellenic Parliament would approve relevant papers very soon so that this most important cooperation project between China and Greece would proceed smoothly and bring benefit to people of the two countries at an early date. Chinese companies are expressing confidence and support for economic recovery in Greece with real actions. China is ready to work with Greece to accelerate the building of the Asia-Europe Land-Sea Express Route to connect the maritime Silk Road with the Silk Road on land so that Greece will become an important gateway for trade between China and Europe and between Asia and Europe. It will be of far-reaching significance for further attracting foreign capital into Greece, increasing employment and government revenue, optimizing the international land-sea transportation network, and expanding China-Europe trade.

Ambassador Zou said that the success of the maritime cooperation year showed once again that as long as the two countries pursue the spirit of mutual respect, openness and inclusiveness, enhance cooperation, and march fearlessly forward, China and Greece would surely realize common development and prosperity, lead the world once again and make new contribution to the progress of humanity. This should become our shared conviction. Let’s work for it!

In his address, Minister Dritsas talked about his fond memories of attending the closing ceremony of the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year and the China-Southern Europe Maritime Cooperation Forum at the end of 2015. He spoke highly of the outstanding achievements of the cooperation year, saying it blazed a new path for maritime cooperation between China and Europe. Both Greece and China are maritime countries and ancient civilizations. The two sides have wide prospects for expanding cooperation in the sea, shipping, trade, culture, innovation and science and technology. Minister Dritsas expressed the confidence that relevant cooperation would achieve great results and bring benefit to peoples of the two countries.

President Melachrinos of the ELTA said that Greece was eager to participate in the Chinese initiative of “Belt and Road” and the ELTA would like to become a propeller for Greece-China Maritime Cooperation. He hoped that the issuance of the souvenir stamps would attract more support from government agencies, institutions and individuals for Greece-China maritime cooperation and for the development of bilateral relations.

At the ceremony, designer of the souvenir stamps, who is of Greek nationality, explained his ideas. Pictures of the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year were exhibited and a short video of the closing ceremony of the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year was shown.

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