Continuing to build on visits to each other’s countries, Greek Premier Antonis Samaras and Chinese President Xi Jinping reinforced political and business ties during a meeting on the island of Rhodes.
“The Chinese side will continue to support Greece on sovereign debt issues and efforts to promote economic recovery,” said the Chinese President, according to media reports.
“China is ready to share its development opportunities with Greece and further enhance the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership,” he added.
Xi mentioned especially his country’s growing interest in transportation infrastructure, maritime, energy and green economy. He said that Beijing would back Chinese companies’ efforts to develop the port of Piraeus and the improvement of the railway system. The Chinese company Cosco already has a major stake in operating the harbor.
“Greece welcomes Chinese companies to expand investment in Greece’ port, railway, and airport, making the country a gateway to the EU market,” said Samaras.
Samaras told President Xi that Greece could serve as a regional hub for the support of Beijing’s commercial and military vessels and be a gateway to other European Union markets.
“Crete (has) all the appropriate infrastructure for the refueling, maintenance and repair of your country’s navy ships,” Samaras told Xi as the Chinese leader made a technical stop on his way to the BRICS summit in Brazil to meet leaders there and from Russia and India.
“There is a possibility for cooperation, for example, in joint patrols of war ships,” said Samaras, who also spoke about collective action to fight piracy at sea.
This was the second high-level visit from China to the debt-hit country in a month following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit and Xi said he would like to serve as an ambassador for Greek tourism among his country’s 1.3 billion population.
Premier Li oversaw the signing of trade and investment deals worth some 6.5 billion euros, while pledging to increase China’s purchase of Greek government bonds.
“The Chinese side will continue to support Greece on sovereign debt issues and efforts to promote economic recovery,” said Xi, making special reference to transportation infrastructure, shipping and energy.
“China is ready to share its development opportunities with Greece and further enhance the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership,” Xi said.