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For a New Chapter of China-Greece Relations
(September 27th, 2018)


Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Qiyue at the Reception in Celebrating the 69th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China


Honorable Mr. Anastasios (Tasos) Kourakis, 1st Deputy Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening.

I would like to extend our warm welcome to all of you to our reception celebrating the 69th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. As the new Chinese Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic having arrived here over a month ago, I am so glad to take this opportunity to make acquaintance with so many friends. 

All of you are good friends of China and the Embassy. Over the years you have been firm supporters of China-Greece friendship and cooperation, and played a very positive role in the development of China-Greece relations. I'd like to pay my highest respect and extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you, and I do hope that in the coming years, we can further enhance our exchanges and cooperation, deepen our friendship, and work together for the new chapter in China-Greece relations.

After my arrival, I had the opportunity to attend many functions, visited a few places and met with a number of friends. I truly admire the great civilization and history of Greece, and I am deeply moved by the hospitality and friendship of the Greek people. What's more, I am very much encouraged by the growing bilateral relations between our two countries.

During this time, I was particularly impressed by three events, which I think, will also have profound impact on Greece and China-Greece relations. The first event was Greece's exit from the bailout program on August 20th, finally coming out of the shadow of the debt crisis and opening a new chapter in the national development. The second event was the signing of a MOU of cooperation on Belt and Road initiative between our two governments. It was signed by Minister Nikos Kotzias and State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during Minister Kotzias' visit to China, making Greece the first country among the European developed countries to sign such an MOU with China.  The third event was the opening of an exhibition of China's Palace Museum in the Acropolis Museum in Athens, showing the important cultural relics in foreign countries for the first time. Through this special arrangement, our two ancient civilizations meet in Athens. 

From the macro-history point of view, these seemingly individual events seem to have a kind of inner connection, demonstrating an inevitable trend of history. This trend, in my opinion, is that after 40 years of Reform and Opening up in China and 8 years of difficult times in Greece, our two countries of ancient civilizations are entering a new era in our bilateral relations and are faced with golden opportunities for future development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the 69 years since the founding of modern China, and under the leadership of the Communist Party, the Chinese people struggled arduously and received worldwide attention for our achievements in development. More specifically, forty years since the country's reform and opening-up, China's image and our relation with the world have gone through earth-shaking changes: from an impoverished country, China is soon to realize the goal of establishing an overall moderately prosperous society, with the GDP rising from $175 billion to more than $12 trillion dollars. China's development cannot be separated from the world, and the world's development also needs China, since for many consecutive years, China has been contributing more than 30% to global economic growth. Just like in the past, so as in the present and future, China will always be a world peace builder, a global development patron, and an international order defender, constantly contributing with its wisdom and strength to the reform and establishment of a global system of governance.  

At the same time, we clearly recognize that problems related to China's uneven development still persist. Taking poverty alleviation as an example. For the past 40 years, China's population living in absolute poverty dropped from 770 million to more than 30 million, accounting for more than 70% of the total number of people alleviated from poverty in the world. However, to achieve the goal of completely eradicating poverty by 2020, this means that for the next one thousand days and for every passing minute, around 20 people should be lifted out of poverty. This is an extremely arduous task.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China and Greece's development is entering a new era. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that was convened in November last year, formulated a grand blueprint for the comprehensive socialist modernization of our nation. In the coming years, China will further deepen its reforms and expand its opening-up. This year, at the Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia, President Xi Jinping announced a series of opening-up initiatives that are currently being implemented at a steady pace. This year in November, China will host the 1st China International Import Expo in Shanghai. We are looking forward to the active participation of Greece and other countries. At the same time, we are very pleased to see Greece entering a new phase of development following the completion of its bailout plan. By launching its strategy of fair growth, and with its economy maintaining a good momentum, the international community is increasingly optimistic about Greece's development prospects. As Greece's good friends and partners, we have great faith in the country's development, as well as the development of China-Greek relations.  

Two thousand years ago, the ancient silk road brought China and Greece together, with the two great civilizations in the East and West complementing each other. Confucius, Socrates, and other sages have left indelible marks on the history of human civilization. Today, with the deepening of globalization, the Belt and Road Initiative, which is rooted in the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, is bringing China and Greece closer, giving impetus to China-Greek cooperation. We wish to join hands with the Greek government and Greek people from all walks of life and work together to further integrate our development strategies, to commit to shared growth through discussion and collaboration, expand practical collaboration, achieve complementary advantages, deepen people-to-people exchanges and bonds, and finally, create a model of win-win cooperation between countries of different scales, different systems and different cultures peacefully coexisting with each other, thus providing the world with more stability and positive energy, while building together a community of shared future for mankind.   

Thank you!



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