|Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli Attends the Press Conference of the 1st Chinese-Hellenic Cities Forum|
On November 2, Ambassador Zou Xiali, together with Greek Minister of Interior Kouroumblis, President of Amphictyony of Ancient Greek Cities and Mayor of Marathon Psinakis, and Rector of University of Athens Dimopoulos attended and made remarks at the press conference of the 1st Chinese-Hellenic Cities Forum, which was convened at the Ceremony Hall of University of Athens. Nearly 20 media institutions were present, including ERT, CNN, CCTV, Xinhua News Agency, China-Greece Times, European Times and others.
Mr. Psyinakis hosted the press conference. He briefed the media that the 1st Chinese-Hellenic Cities Forum, which has attracted nearly 100 Greek mayors for participation, will be convened on November 11 in Athens, co-organized by the Amphictyony of Ancient Greek Cities and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Interior and the Chinese Embassy in Greece. The Forum will afterwards be convened once a year, and the next session will be in China next year. Mr. Psynakis said that the Amphictyony of Ancient Greek Cities is willing to unite its member cities to strengthen their exchanges and cooperation through this Forum with Chinese cities on business, culture, tourism and other fields, so as to promote Greek economic and social development and deepen our friendly cooperation between the two countries. He told the media that he was fortunate to have visited China twice this year and he was full of admiration that the Chinese people under the leadership of Chinese government, central or local level, are striving for the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping. As two ancient civilizations. Greece and China has made great contributions to human civilization and progress. In the new era, our two countries should jointly make new contributions to world peace and development, by strengthening communication and cooperation for mutual benefits through implementing the Belt and Road Initiative.
For his part, Ambassador Zou pointed out that the aim of the Forum is to create a platform to engage the local authorities, business communities, cultural and educational institutes of China and Greece in enhancing exchanges and cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win situation. A large delegation with over 70 representatives from 4 provinces and 14 cities of China including Beijing and Shanghai will participate in the Forum, making it the largest event for local exchanges since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries 44 years ago.China and Greece have decided that 2017 will be China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation Year. China will be the country of honor for next year's Thessaloniki International Fair. The Forum on Nov. 11 is also aimed to draw attention and call on the local authorities to play an active role in the above-mentioned major events. This is extremely important for the further development of China-Greece comprehensive strategic partnership, which is entering its second decade since 2006. Ambassador Zou thanked Mr. Psinakis, President of the Amphictyony, for launching the initiative and his tireless efforts together with the CPAFFC to make this event a successful one. He thanked the member cities of the Amphictyony and of the CPAFFC for their active participation in the Forum. His particular thanks go to Minister Kouroumblis for his constant political support for the event. He expressed his belief that with the concerted efforts of all the parties, the Forum will be a full success.
Ambassador Zou briefed the media on the theme of the Forum----China-Greece cooperation at local level in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the role of Greece in the Initiative so as to give them a big picture in which the Forum is going to take place. He said that thanks to its advantageous geographic position, Greece represents an important link of the two Silk Roads on land and on the sea. Furthermore, the Cosco Piraeus Port project has significantly consolidated the role of Greece in the Belt and Road Initiative, contributing not only to the recovery of the Greek economy but also to the integration of the regional economy. Following the successful investment of Cosco at the Piraeus Port, some big Chinese companies of infrastructure construction, energy and finance have increased their interest in the Greek market, starting to discuss new investment projects with the Greek side both at central and local level, which, once implemented along with the Cosco project, will contribute to turn Greece into an engine of growth for the whole Mediterranean region.
Ambassador Zou stressed that Greece, always a bridge between Western and Eastern civilizations, can bring its superiority to full play under the scheme of the Belt and Road Initiative, and join hands with China to forge their relationship to a shining example of mutual understanding, mutual trust between nations with different social and political backgrounds. This will represent an important contribution of two ancient nations to the world today, Ambassador Zou said. He also pointed that China appreciates Greece's role in dealing with the vulnerable circumstances and crises of the region and worldwide. As permanent member of the UN Security Council, China stands ready to enhance communication and coordination with Greece and other relevant countries and parties so as to create a favorable environment for the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Ambassador Zou finished by pointing out that the Belt and Road Initiative provides a golden opportunity for China and Greece, two great ancient nations, to join hands in promoting the progress of human civilizations, while achieving common development and prosperity of ourselves. This is the essence of China-Greece comprehensive strategic partnership. He hoped that the upcoming Forum will be an important step forward in achieving this goal.
For his part, Minister of Interior Kouroumblis said that Greece and China, although different in social political system and economic status, both cherish peace and keep committed to promote dialogue between civilizations to seek common development. This forms the basis for our cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative. On behalf of the Greek Government, he expressed his support to the China-Greek Cities Forum. He said that bilateral cooperation between Greece and China has expanded to to many fields and levels, among which local exchanges became more and more closer. The Forum will help to activate creativity of the local governments of both sides and expand possibilities for mutual cooperation. So we believe in this attempt and expect fruitful results in such a difficult and crucial time for Greece.