Your Excellency, Minister Kouroumblis of Interior-Administration Reconstruction,
Your Excellency, Minister Dritsas of Shipping and Island Policy,
Your Excellency, Minister of State Flambouraris
Your Excellency, Deputy Speaker Christodoulopoulou,
Mr. Potamianos, President of Greece-China Association,
Representatives of political parties,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank President Potamianos and Vice-President Matiadou for inviting me to attend today's Spring Festival Gala. How time flies! I have spent the year of the horse and the year of the goat in Greece, and now we are welcoming the year of the monkey. I have often been asked by friends how I am in Greece. To tell the truth, the past two years have not been easy, but very pleasant and satisfying. It is not been easy, for a lot of changes have happened in Greece and in Europe. As the Chinese ambassador in Greece, I have faced some completely new situation and challenges. I feel heavy responsibilities. Sometimes it feels like treading on ice. Many a sleepless nights have increased the white hair on my head. Nevertheless, these two years have also been pleasant and satisfying, for I have received assistance and support from various Greek communities, increased my understanding about Greece, grown even more fondly of the Greek people, and appreciate even more the opportunity of working in Greece. There were times I was too excited to sleep when seeing the giant ship of China-Greece friendship breaking the wind and sailing to the wider sea.
In the past two years, the number of Chinese tourists to Greece has increased markedly. It is said that in the over 100 hotels on Santorini, over a half of the guests are Chinese. In addition, thanks to joint efforts of the two sides, important outcomes have emerged from bilateral cooperation in cultural, educational, scientific, investment and other areas. Last year the two sides successfully held the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Year. It was the first ocean-themed cooperation year between China and a foreign country. It is worth recording in history. ELTA has issued a commemorative stamp for it. I have brought 20 sets today. I wish you good luck in getting them in the lottery. At the beginning of the year, the Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition was successfully held in Athens. Representatives of over 30 institutions of higher learning have visited Greece. China and Greece have decided to establish a joint lab on laser technology. To our delight, COSCO has been selected as the preferred investor for the majority stakes of PCT. With expanding and deepening bilateral cooperation in the Port of Piraeus, the ancient Silk Road will demonstrate new splendor.
It was still vivid in my mind that my first public speech after arriving in Greece was at an event hosted by the Greece-China Association at the Athens War Museum, with the theme "the future of China and Greece". The destinies of China and Greece have never been so intertwined than today. China needs Greece, and Greece also needs China. When China and Greece join hands, the future of the world will be even brighter. My optimism is not blind. I am aware that there are still many deep-water zones ahead. However, we must tide them over together like passengers on the same boat. The gala tonight is the highest level of its kind as it is honoured by the presence of three ministers, a deputy speaker and representatives of major political parties. By coming here, you have demonstrated friendly feelings towards the Chinese people and strong support for bilateral cooperation. My sincere thanks go to friends of the Greece-China Association, especially President Potamianos and Vice-President Matiadou, Vice-President Kouskoukis, Vice-President Kontos, and Secretary-General Karzis. You have sincere and friendly feelings towards the Chinese people. You have witnessed and contributed to the development of China-Greece relations in the past half a century. With unfading enthusiasm, you have passed on confidence and strength and played a positive role in promoting friendly cooperation between the two countries. Before ending, I would like to wish our friends of the Greece-China Association good health, great joy and new contribution to friendship and cooperation between the two countries.