Mitsotakis met with Xi Jinping in Beijing - "Greece and China have a strong economic relationship"

Kyriakos Mitsotakis Xi Jinping November 3 2023

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made an official visit to China, where he had meetings with the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Chiang and the President of the National People's Congress, Zhao Lei, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

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At the start of his meeting with President Xi, the Prime Minister said: “Thank you for your kind words and warm welcome. Allow me to begin by conveying the greetings of our President, Mrs. Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

"It has been four years since you visited Athens - an important meeting - and indeed, a lot has happened in those four years. Our country has progressed significantly, and we are sure we have left the difficult years of the economic crisis behind us.

"We are also particularly pleased that two of the largest Chinese rating agencies have upgraded Greece's credit rating.

"As you pointed out, Greece and China have a strong relationship, a robust economic relationship. The port of Piraeus marks this. It has been a successful investment for both sides, and we look forward to its further expansion.

"Of course, there are significant opportunities to improve our trade relations, so more Greek products enter the Chinese market, and more Chinese visitors come to Greece.

"I would also like to emphasise the cultural exchanges between our two countries. The Minister of Culture of Greece was in Beijing a few days ago.

"Greece and China, as two ancient civilisations, have much to share with the world and learn from each other. I am glad that even at your level, at the level of the President of China, the importance of the cultural relationship between our two countries is recognised.

"Again, I would like to thank you on behalf of the Greek delegation for this great welcome. And I look forward to welcoming you back to Greece as soon as possible."

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During the meetings, the entire range of bilateral relations was reviewed, which the Prime Minister described as "strong and mutually beneficial". At the same time, their strengthening was discussed, especially in economy, trade, tourism and culture.

The Prime Minister made particular reference to the upgrading of the Greek economy to the investment level by Chinese companies and to the investment opportunities in Greece, which, as he said, has left the crisis era behind.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis placed particular emphasis on economic cooperation and specifically on increasing Greek exports, especially agricultural products, to China and collaboration in tourism so that the arrivals of Chinese tourists in Greece reach pre-pandemic levels.

There was also an exchange of views on EU-China relations. The Prime Minister reiterated Greece's position on the need for open EU communication channels.

With China and emphasised that it is in mutual interest for this relationship to be constructive and stable. He underlined that Greece can be a bridge in this relationship. He also believed that Europe needs strategic autonomy to face global geopolitical challenges.

He also stressed the need for EU-China cooperation to tackle significant challenges such as climate change and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

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Images from Proto Thema.

Issues of regional and international interest were also discussed. Mitsotakis underlined the important role that China can play in maintaining international peace and solving global crises, such as the war in Ukraine, as a permanent member of the Security Council.

The Prime Minister also emphasised Greece's firm position on the need for a peaceful resolution of disputes based on International Law.

Earlier, a Greece-China air connections agreement was signed. The agreement modernises the institutional aviation framework between the two countries and will strengthen the connections of Greek companies with China and vice versa.

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