Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greek and Chinese “culture and civilization go back thousands of years” at the start of the Greece-China Year of Culture & Tourism in 2021 event held yesterday in the Ancient Agora of Athens.
As well as sharing a status as the home of two of the world’s most influential ancient civilizations, Greece and China have modern-day connections.
Greece was the first country in the European Union to sign up the Belt and Road Initiative, benefiting notably from Chinese investment in the port of Piraeus, CGTN reported.
The port’s expansion has created 10,000 jobs and made it one of the fastest growing-container terminals in the world.
The two countries’ partnerships also extend to people-to people exchanges, for instance in education.
“Both China and Greece are ancient civilizations with a long history, brilliant culture, and beautiful scenery,” China’s tourism minister Hu Heping said during a speech to mark the opening of the tourism and cultural accord – the Greece-China Year of Culture & Tourism in 2021.
“They have a long history of friendly exchanges. In modern times, the comprehensive strategic partnership has been strengthened day by day, showing the world the beauty of harmony of great ancient civilizations.”
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis celebrated the fact that the two countries’ diplomatic relations will have completed 50 years in 2022, and added that “these bonds will expand dynamically into the future.”
“The two countries’ culture and civilization go back thousands of years,” he said, “and although they have evolved in distance from one another, they have always focused on the same ecumenical values,” he highlighted.
“A fact reflected,” he noted, in the emblematic installation of sculptures titled “Confucius & Socrates: a Meeting” that was donated by the Art Museum of China, and which now adorns the Ancient Agora of Athens.
“The more one country arouses the interest of another, the more attractive the destination becomes,” added Mitsotakis in reference to tourism, and “this is why Greece’s goal next year is to welcome more Chinese friends than ever before.”
Closing his speech, Mitsotakis spoke the words of Confucius, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and of Socrates, “the most valuable acquisition is a steady friend.”