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Speech by Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the "Belt and Road" and Greece-China Economic Cooperation Seminar
2017-03-27

 

Good morning!

I am glad to attend the "Belt and Road" and Greece-China Economic Cooperation Seminar. The timing for holding such a seminar is very good, for China-Greece economic cooperation is at a crucial development stage, which calls for the attention and support from people of all walks of life. As the Chinese Ambassador to Greece, I would like to convey to you, and through you, a message: Enhance confidence, for we are opening a path to success.

We have never needed such much confidence than now. We have never been more confident than now.

First of all, the development strategies of the two countries have successfully aligned, which provides strong driving force for bilateral economic cooperation. Greece is committed to becoming the regional hub of shipping, energy, and services as well as the gateway for Chinese commodities, people, and services to enter Europe. This is a perfect match for the Chinese Initiative of "Belt and Road" cooperation.

China and Greece, two countries vastly distant from each other and greatly different in economic volumes, have found the biggest common denominator of interests as they set to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations. This is a historical coincidence, as well as a heavy responsibility. China needs Greece, just as Greece needs China. China highly appreciates the support and active participation of Greece in the "Belt and Road" Initiative, and is confident that Greece will not only walk out of the debt crisis, but will also play a more important role in regional peace and stability. To this end, China has already invited Greek leaders to attend the "Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation", where they will discuss with their Chinese and foreign counterparts about the building and sharing of the 21st Century Silk Road.

Second, the "dragonhead" effect of the Cosco Piraeus project has been growing stronger and bilateral investment cooperation is demonstrating broad prospects. The Cosco Piraeus project is by far the most successful infrastructure cooperation project in Greece and even Europe, with the most extensive impact, which has greatly boosted the interest and confidence of Chinese businesses to invest in Greece. Projects under discussion between the two sides cover wide areas including ship-building and repair, ports, airports, power, telecommunication, finance, tourism, real estate, etc., with encouraging momentum. More importantly, Greek businesses have also intensified their efforts in exploring the Chinese market. Not long ago, upon hearing that a Greek company hopes to invest in Chinese port facilities, I gave my approval and support on the spot. It is fair to say that China-Greece economic relations are witnessing leap-forward development, namely, from pure trade relations to an investment-driven mode, which will not only benefit our two countries and two peoples, but also bring benefit to the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe, West Asia, and North Africa.

Third, the bonds between our two societies have never been so close, with increasing and improved mechanisms and platforms for cooperation in various areas. Since 2014, the two sides have successfully held two sessions of maritime cooperation forum, a year of maritime cooperation, and initiated China-Hellenic Cities Forum. This year marks the year of China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation. In September China will be the honoured country of the Thessaloniki International Fair. Air China is to open a Beijing-Athens direct flight. Local governments, non-governmental organizations, business associations, and cultural agencies of the two countries have injected unprecedented vigor and vitality into bilateral relations, and will surely unleash the tremendous potential of bilateral cooperation.

Fourth, China and Greece have common interests in opposing protectionism and promoting economic globalization and can play an important role. Protectionism will not only fail to bring prosperity, but will also bury the momentum of world economic recovery, which has not come by easily. Greece is working hard to attract foreign investment, build an export-oriented economy, give full play to its geographical advantages, and become a new bridge for trade, investment, and personnel exchanges between the East and the West. This is in line with the interests of not only Greece, but also China and the European Union. China stands ready to work with Greece to grant greater market access to each other, with the focus on investment cooperation aimed at enhancing connectivity, and create conditions for economic globalization to register new progress on a more open, balanced, and fair basis. In this sense, China-Greece cooperation also bears on China-Europe cooperation and cooperation between different regions of the world, which has important and far reaching significance.

 

Dear entrepreneurs and senior officials,

When discussing economic and trade cooperation, we should bear in mind the path we have travelled together and the overall picture of bilateral relations. We should always conform to the trends of world development, and constantly enhance the confidence and dynamism of our cooperation. In this way, no challenge or hardship can prevent us from marching forward.

Before I conclude, I would like to express great regards to all entrepreneurs and officials who are committed to mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries. I wish the seminar a great success!

Thank you all!

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