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Interview of FM Ms. Dora Bakoyannis with Xinhua News Agency
2007-05-10

Greek Foreign Minister Ms. Dora Bakoyannis said Tuesday,during the interview with xinhua news agency, trade relations between China and Greece are yet to reach their full potential,  as the two nations gear up to honor more than three decades of strong ties.

"There is room for further improvement with regard to our exports and imports. It is my hope that they will soon be further enhanced," said the minister in an exclusive interview with Xinhua before her visit to China.

Bakoyannis is visiting China from May 9 to 13. She said the reason for her visit is two-fold. "First, I wish to be present for the commemoration of our diplomatic stepping stone -- our 35-year landmark. This is an important event for us, and we wish to honor it as much as we can."

"Second, this trip falls within the framework of further strengthening our already excellent bilateral ties, both at the political and economic levels." Bakoyannis said.

She highly appraised the friendly relationship between China and Greece during the past 35 years. "Our relations are characterized by strong bonds of friendship and mutual respect -- and this is extremely important. China and Greece share common interests and we work alongside each other on a range of issues of bilateral and global concern."

"I would like to make particular reference to the Joint Declaration on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our countries, which forms the basis of our co-operation in all fields. I would like to see it reinforced and expanded to new levels." the minister said.

"There have been numerous visits at the governmental level. These visits have enhanced and further strengthened our bilateral ties. I am pleased to say that our bilateral co-operation in the political, economic, scientific, technological and socio-cultural domains is excellent."

Bakoyannis said her visit will permit both sides to evaluate the progress made so far. It will also provide a strong political impetus henceforth.

She said she hoped "the Year of Greece in China" which will start later this year, "will be a wonderful opportunity through which our culture, both ancient and modern, will be presented to the Chinese people."

Talking about the Hellenic and Chinese civilizations, Bakoyannis said, "Our ancient heritage is invaluable for us -- it is through knowing one's past, that one can honor it. The Chinese know this well. And at the same time, both countries can boast a dynamic modern culture."

She urged the two countries to beef up cooperation in a wide range of cultural issues through the promotion and exchange of intercultural dialogue, expositions in the arts, dance, or opera.

At the core of the Olympic spirit is the principle that triumphing is not the ultimate prize, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said in an interview with Xinhua before she pays a visit to China from May 9 to 13.

It is the personal struggle and above all fair play that are the most cherished values of the Olympics, said the minister.

"The Olympic Games are a celebration of cultures and of noble values. It is the celebration of individual strength and commitment -- striving for the continual betterment of oneself," said Bakoyannis.

She emphasized that main message that the Olympics have sought to propagate throughout the centuries, is that of co-operation, respect, and proud achievement. These do not necessarily translate in victory at all costs -- the ends do not justify the means.

Both Greece and China are unique in that they comprise a wonderful combination of the 'ancient' and the 'modern.' This contrast is what fascinates outsiders and this contrast is what ought to be emphasized to the outside world.

"This is an aspect which makes China truly captivating," said the minister.

Each country and government decides, based on its own ideas and visions, how to project itself to the outside world, she added.

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