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PM Mitsotakis meets Chinese leadership, urges a further strengthening of trade relations

Featured PM Mitsotakis meets Chinese leadership, urges a further strengthening of trade relations

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis placed emphasis on further strengthening Greek-Chinese relations on multiple levels, especially trade, in meetings with the country's leadership on Friday, during an official visit to China. Mitsotakis met Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang and the Chairman of the National People's Congress of China Zhao Leji, with talks focusing on bilateral relations on both an economic and cultural level.

The Greek premier particularly emphasised the role that Greece can play as a bridge between China and Europe, while praising China's role on the international scene.

In the meeting with Xi Jinping, Mitsotakis highlighted the recent economic growth in Greece and expressed his satisfaction that two Chinese credit rating agencies had upgraded Greece's rating. The Greek prime minister's comments were as follows:

"I thank you for your kind words and your cordial reception. Allow me to start by relaying the greetings of our president, Mrs Katerina Sakellaropoulou. It has been four years since you last visited Athens - it was an important meeting - and it is true that much has happened in these four years. Our country has made significant progress and we are now sure that the difficult years of the economic crisis are behind us. Also, it makes us particularly happy that two of the biggest Chinese rating agencies have upgraded Greece's rating.
"As you pointed out, Greece and China have a strong relationship, a strong economic relationship. The Piraeus port indicates this. It was a successful investment for both sides and we look forward to its further extension. Of course, there are significant margins for improving our trade relations so that more Greek products enter the Greek market and more Chinese visitors come to Greece.
"I would also like to especially emphasise the cultural exchanges between our two countries. The culture minister of Greece was in Beijing a few days ago. Greece and China, as two ancient civilisations, have much to share with the world and much to learn from one another."
Mitsotakis said he was glad that the Chinese president likewise acknowledge the importance of the cultural ties with Greece and said he looked forward to soon welcoming him in Greece once again.

During the meetings with Chinese officials, the premier reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, noting that these were "strong and mutually beneficial" and discussed ways to further enhance them, especially in the sectors of the economy, trade, tourism and culture. Among others, he particularly emphasised increasing Greek exports to China, especially of agriculture products, and boosting tourism, so that arrivals of Chinese tourists return to pre-pandemic levels.

There was also an exchange of views on China's relations with the EU, with the prime minister repeating Athens' position in favour of open channels of communication between the EU and China and noting that it was in the mutual interest of all sides that this relationship be stable and constructive. In addition to noting Greece's potential role as a bridge between China and the EU, he expressed his conviction that Europe needs strategic autonomy to face global geopolitical challenges. He also stressed the need for EU-China cooperation in dealing with major global challenges such as climate change and the UN sustainable development goals.

Discussing matters of regional and international interest with China's leadership, Mitsotakis underlined the important role that China can play in preserving world peace and the resolution of global crises, such as the war in Ukraine, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

He also repeated Greece's standing position in support of a peaceful resolution of differences on the basis of international law.

Earlier, an agreement was signed for governing Greece-China airline connections, which modernised the legal aviation framework between the two countries and will strenghthen the connections of Greek companies with China and vice-versa.