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Speech by Ambassador ZouXiaoli at the Reception at PCT for Women Representatives of Athens

Chairman Mao used to say that women are "half the sky". Looking around, I see women are"all the sky". In both China and Greece and in the international arena, women are playing increasingly important roles. On many things, when women have reached agreement, there is little chance for man to argue for a different opinion. I hope today's event will produce the same effect.

Since COSCO Group (Hong Kong) was declared by TAIPED to be the preferred investor for the 67% majority stakes of PPA on January 20, people from all walks of life have asked me many questions, showing strong interest in the project. As the old Chinese saying goes, "it is better to see once than to hear a hundred times, which means, "seeing is believing". After the on-spot visit and the briefing by PCT, you can draw your own conclusions.

As the Chinese ambassador to Greece, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts:

First of all, we are confident that Greece can walk out of the crisis. Greece boasts advantageous geographical location, sound transportation networks of land, sea and air, rich cultural and tourism resources, innovative enterprises and research institutes, professionals and skilled labour, which constitute important foundations for the recovery of the Greek economy. The ultimate goal of reform is to find a path of development that suits the calls of the times and specific national conditions. It is by no means easy. Difficulties and challenges are inevitable, which also bear new driving force for hope and development. The reform process of China in the past three decades has proven this time and again. The path leading Greece out of the crisis might be uneven, but the future will definitely be bright.

Second, China-Greece cooperation enjoys broad prospects. The Piraeus Port project will not only drive trade and investment cooperation between the two countries, but will also facilitate bilateral exchanges in tourism, finance, culture, education, and scientific innovation, etc. As a matter of fact, positive signs have already started to show. Some foreign ambassadors in Greece told me that businesses in their countries are following the project closely. If the Chinese succeed, their entrepreneurs will come too. In this sense, the Piraeus Port project has gone far beyond a bilateral scope. What I want to stress is that the EU supports Greece's efforts to revitalize the economy. It should also support Greece-China cooperation in Piraeus. Increasing Chinese investment in Greece will benefit Europe as a whole, for China-EU economic ties will become stronger and more vibrant.

Third, COSCO is a member of the big family of Piraeus. The success of PCT is not only COSCO's success, it is also a success for Greece, for it is a result of win-win cooperation. This will also be the case for the new PPA.It is true that PCT and PPA are Chinese investment projects, but they remain Greek and they belong to the Greeks. PCT will always be a Greek terminal, and Piraeus always a Greek port. Both PCT and the future PPA will continue to operate under Greek laws, employ local managers and staff, cooperate with local businesses and contribute to revenues of the Greek government and local authorities. The port and various facilities invested by COSCO will be Greek assets. They will remain on the land of Greece and serve the Greek people.

Fourth, the Chinese economy remainsa driving force behind the world economy, whose recovery is still weak. Playing down the Chinese economy is not only meaningless but also harmful. We are confident to realize the growth target of 6.5% to 7% in 2016, which will remain the highest among major economies. We are fully aware of the difficulties and challenges ahead. Through comprehensive deepening of reforms, we will strengthen international cooperation, improve the quality and efficiency of economic growth and achieve new developments at a higher level. It is for sure that a new round of economic growth in China will make greater contribution to the world.

Having said all that, my conclusion is that confidence, trust and cooperation are the foundation for overcoming difficulties and realizing common development and prosperity. This is the most important message of today's event. To this end, I would like to thank once again the diplomatic community and women's representatives of Athens for your care and support for the Piraeus project. We Chinese believe that "with concerted efforts, you can make a mountain move". As long as all sides work together in concerted efforts, the Port of Piraeus will surely have a better tomorrow.

Thank you!

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