|Speech by Chinese Ambassador Mrs.Zhang Qiyue at CCS 2018 Mediterranean Committee Meeting|
|(September 10th, Yacht Club of Greece)|
Honorable CCS President Mr. Mo Jianhui,
Honorable Chairman of CCS MC Mr. Palios,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It's my great pleasure to attend this year's CCS (China Classification Society) Mediterranean Committee Meeting. As the Chinese saying goes, we should make new friends but never forget old friends.Most of you here today are old friends who over the years have supported China-Greece friendly cooperation and made positive contributions to the development of our bilateral relations. As the new Chinese Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, I am pleased to meet with all of you for the first time and I am truly grateful for your hospitality. Please allow me to take the opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to all of you for your contributions to the development of China-Greece relations and the friendly exchanges between our two peoples.
I visited the Port of Piraeus a few days after I arrived in Greece, and I saw a photo in the PPA office building. It showed an image of an exquisite Greek ship model dated back to 5th century BC. I also saw the thriving development of the port with all kinds of ships coming and going. With this comparison between the ancient and the current times, it comes to my realization that the development of Greece is closely related to shipping and people from the shipping industry have made important contributions to the development of Greece.
The China-Greece relations are also like a large ship. Back in the 1950s, some visionary Greek ship owners opened shipping routes to China despite numerous obstacles. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, our bilateral relations have braved the winds and waves and enjoyed rapid development for 46 years. Looking forward, both sides should make a careful consideration as to how to steer the big ship of China-Greece relations to sail faster and more steadily.
I have always admired seafarers. It is the seafarers' strong spiritual strength that makes them sail towards the deep blue. Likewise, we also need strong spiritual strength as the sails of our big ship, to constantly advance China-Greece relations. I believe the most important spiritual strength is confidence. Confidence was very important when Greece was in the debt crisis and it is still important now when Greece has exited the bailout program and China-Greece relations are faced with new prospect for development. In this respect, I wish to emphasize three points:
Firstly, we need to have confidence in the development of Greece. Greece has a splendid history. The Greek people have never been afraid of storms of adversities. Over the past thousands of years, the Greek people have gone through numerous ups and downs, and the Greek history is a magnificent epic of struggles and developments. The past eight years have witnessed the Greek government and its people embracing challenges with amazing perseverance and gradually coming out the crisis. Now Greece has opened a new chapter with the exit from the bailout program. We are fully confident that, with the joint efforts of the Greek government, all walks of society and the Greek people, the Greek economy will further recover and new achievements will be made in the national development and a brighter future is ahead of us.
Secondly, we need to have confidence in the development of China. This year marks the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and also the 40th anniversary of China's Reform and Opening up policy. The Chinese people are confident in China's development. The confidence comes from China's long-term adherence to and advancement of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and its remarkable achievements in development over the past decades. The confidence comes from the blueprint for China's future development drawn by the 19th CPC National Congress, and China's sound judgment and positive contributions to world peace and development. China's development has entered a new era. Guided by the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, we will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. Our target is to see that socialist modernization will be basically realized by 2035 and that China will become a great modern socialist country by the middle of this century. China will open wider to the outside world and seek common development with other countries around the world. China will firmly support multilateralism and contribute to steering the economic globalization towards a more open, inclusive and balanced direction so that it is beneficial to all. China will proactively participate in the reform of the global governance system, fostering a new type of international relations, striving to build a community of shared future for mankind, which will instill even more positive energy into the development of the world.
Thirdly, we need to have confidence in the development of China-Greece relations. Historically, as representatives of the Eastern and Western civilizations, both China and Greece have made historical contributions to the development of human civilization. Currently, with our mutual trust increasingly strengthened, the practical cooperation consistently upgraded and cultural exchanges continuously expanded between our two countries, China-Greece relations have become a fine example of peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries of different sizes, systems and cultures.The China-Greece cooperation has made progress against all the odds when China extended our helping hands to the debt-laden Greek friends. Now that Greece has exited the bailout program, there will surely be even more opportunities for our cooperation. In 2017, our bilateral trade volume stood at 5.1 billion US dollars, accounting for only 0.8% of China's trade with the EU (644.46 billion US dollars). At the same time, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Greece were around a little more than one hundred thousand, making up only a tiny part of the total 130 million Chinese holidaymakers going abroad. I think there are great potential and bright prospect for China-Greece cooperation in various areas in the future. We are willing to work with people from all walks of life in Greece and make a cake of common interests bigger, further expanding our cooperation in economy and trade, culture and education and people to people exchanges, tourism and other areas.
I would like to emphasize that this year is the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which is increasingly supported by more and more countries around the world. Greece is our natural partner of the Belt and Road Initiative. During Greek foreign minister Mr. Kotzias' recent visit to China, he and Mr. Wang Yi, Chinese State Councilor and foreign minister, jointly signed a MOU on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. This cooperation will bring historic opportunities for our two countries and inject strong and lasting impetus to the practical cooperation between our two countries. We should take this opportunity to substantially advance and make concrete results for our cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, bringing more tangible benefits to our two peoples. We will work together to upgrade our relationship to a new level and continue our efforts to build a community of shared future for the mankind.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are entering a new era and it's the perfect time to sail with a favorable wind arising. Let's seize the opportunity to set sail and steer the great ship of China-Greece relations to go even farther, heading to a brighter future.
Finally, I wish this meeting a great success and wish all of you good health and happiness.