|Ambassador Zou Xiaoli Attended the Conference on the Establishment of the "Amphictyony of Ancient Greek cities"|
On March 28, Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli was invited to attend the conference marking the establishment of the "Amphictyony of Ancient Greek cities". Panos Kouroumblis, minister for Interior-Administration Reconstruction, representatives for the ministers of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Ilias Psinakis, mayor of Marathon and president of the Amphictyony, governors and nearly a hundred mayors from the southern part of Greece attended the event.
In his speech, Minister Kouroumblis said that the Amphictyony would become a bond linking Greek cities and would play an important role in giving publicity to the history and culture of ancient Greek cities, strengthen inter-city cooperation, and promote the international perspective of these cities. The Amphictyony will help the Greek people establish confidence and jointly deal with the difficulties the country is facing now.
Ambassador Zou pointed out that in recent years, there has been an increasingly strong trend in China to learn more about Greece, come to Greece and collaborate with Greece. Last year, over 500 Chinese nationals participated in the "Authentic Marathon Race". Nearly 20 delegations of Chinese provinces and cities visited Greece. Crete and Peloponnese entered into sister cities with Hainan Province and Qinghai Province of China. The mayors of Elefsina, Perama, Aspropyrgou, and Megara, four cities neighboring the Port of Piraeus, visited China at the invitation of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Due to the rapid growth of Chinese tourists, hundreds of hotels on Greek islands like Santorini have realized all-season business. Last month, 30 institutions of higher learning from Zhejiang Province visited Greece, of which 8 universities signed MOU on exchanges and cooperation with Technical Educational Institute of Athens (TEI). The friendly exchanges and cooperation between the provinces and cities of the two countries have vigorously promoted cooperation in the fields of trade, culture, tourism, and education, etc.
Ambassador Zou stressed that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive and strategic partnership between China and Greece, which is also hoped to be a year of exchanges between cities of the two countries and cultural exchanges between the two peoples. The Chinese side will do its best for the early opening of the Chinese Cultural Center in Athens. The two sides will carry out cooperation in key areas like cultural heritage preservation, underwater archaeology, the Marathon race, and the Olympic culture.
Ambassador Zou said that the great potential of friendly cooperation between the two countries lies in the hands of the peoples. The development of China-Greece relations calls for joint efforts of the two peoples and will benefit the two peoples. The establishment of the amphictyony will play an important role for this purpose. Today marks a new beginning for the ancient Greek cities as well as a new start for the exchanges between cities and peoples of the two countries. He assured the Greek mayors of the commitment and support of the Chinese Embassy in helping the amphictyony establishing relations with relevant Chinese cities and institutions.
At the conference, Minister Kouroumblis, representative of the Culture Minister, nearly a hundred Greek mayors including the mayor of Marathon, and representatives of Olympic Champions Association and the Association of Secretary-Generals of Greek Cities signed on the cooperation protocol on the establishment of the "Amphictyony of Ancient Greek cities". The Amphictyony aims at giving publicity to Greek history and culture, better preserving cultural heritage, giving better play to the role of local organizations, and advocating for cultural events. The ceremony for the Amphictyony of northern Greek cities will take place in Thessaloniki.
During the event, Ambassador Zou Xiaoli had friendly chats with Greek mayors and received interviews from mainstream Greek television stations including MEGA, ANTENNA, and EPSILON on China-Greece relations, and bilateral cooperation in culture and other fields.