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Speech by Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the Spring Festival Gala held by the Greece-China Association


Dear Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras,

President of the Greece-China Association Andreas Potamianos,

First Vice-President Amalia Matiatou,

Distinguished guests and friends,

It has become a consolidated tradition in Athens that every year celebration of Greek and Chinese New Year culminates in this gala event organized by the Greece-China Association. It is a moment not only about delicious food, dancing, singing and lottery, but more importantly, it offers us an opportunity to share passion, activism and hope for the new year. Thus I wish to express sincere thanks to President Potamianos and in particular, first Vice-President Matiadou, who is the soul of the annual event. Having said this, I feel obliged to mention that last year marked the 60th anniversary of the Greece-China Association. Mr.Andreas Potamianos has been President of the Association for more than three decades, and Ms. Amalia Matiatou is the only founding member who still plays a leading role of this important organization. Mr. Potamianos and Ms. Matiatou and and other board members of the Association have stood with us through thick and thin and proven to be true friends of the Chinese people. The Association and my Embassy have agreed to commemorate the 60 years of the Association's history in the coming months to pay tribute to all those who have worked with devotion for the friendship and cooperation between our two great nations over the years.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year, 2017, is expected to be a new milestone in the development of our bilateral relations. I would like to take this opportunity to mention a few of the most important events that are going to take place in 2017:

From 14th to 15th of May, China is going to hold the "Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation" in Beijing, in which Greek Prime Minister Tsipras has been invited to participate and we expect Greece to play an active role in the revival of the ancient Silk Road.

In June we are going to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the People's Republic of China and the Hellenic Republic.

In September China will be participating in the the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) as honoured country.

2017 has been declared to be China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation Year and more than 50 cultural events are scheduled to take place in our two countries.

In the economic field, big Chinese companies like COSCO Shipping, State Grid Corporation, CMEC(China Machinery Engineering Corporation), China State Construction Engineering Corporation(CSCEC), Shenhua Group, Huawei and ZTE are discussing with their Greek partners important investment projects in the fields of shipping, infrastructure, energy, and telecommunications.

Ladies and gentlemen,

2017 is a crucial year for China, Greece and our friendly relationship as well. In a world that has been increasingly globalized and digitalized, China, Greece and other countries worldwide have become a community of shared future. China needs Greece, as much as Greece needs China. Ambitious goals have been set, opening broad prospects of development for both countries and peoples. Turning vision into reality requires concerted efforts and firm determination from people of all walks of life, including the Association and my Embassy. I am convinced that the year of the Rooster, the symbol of diligence and prosperity, will bring us the best of luck.

I will like to conclude by quoting what Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his New Year address, "Let us roll up our sleeves and redouble our efforts for a  better common future."


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