China-Greece ties

Added On May 14, 2019

 Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos is paying a five-day state visit to China starting Sunday. He will also attend the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing.

In an interview with CNC ahead of his visit, the Greek president shared his views on China-Greece relations and dialogue between civilizations. Take a listen.
Asked about what he expected from the visit, the Greek president said
"I expect that our already very good relations with China will become even better, closer and more productive."
This is not Pavlopoulos' first visit to China. He visited China a few months before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in his capacity as the Greek minister of the Interior.
"I remember with nostalgia and satisfaction that period, that very important visit. What I am keeping from that visit is that we laid then the foundations of the relationship we have today."
Cooperation between China and Greece has flourished over the years, although Greece once suffered from an acute debt crisis. The president said that sincerity and mutual understanding is the foundation of good relations.
"I would like to emphasize the fact that during the financial crisis, the relations between China and Greece not only were not affected, but became even better and more effective. This shows how deep the roots of our relations are. Our two peoples have relationships that are not based on something superficial, it is not something circumstantial and opportunistic. They are relations based mainly on the role that each country envisions for itself and for peoples."
Pavlopoulos said he believes that such sound bilateral relations could be strengthened in the future, which will certainly facilitate China's ties with the international community, especially with the European Union (EU).
"We have never considered Greece isolated from the surroundings in which we live. We always see Greece as a dynamic member of the international community and especially as one of the key partners of our big European family, the European Union. That is why I believe that the better relations between Greece and China will facilitate the relations of the international community with China. Of course, with the EU itself. "
The president said he hopes both countries could enhance cooperation within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
We Greeks welcome this initiative and we expect a lot from it. Because, this initiative, apart from the economic benefit, also has to do with the relations between China, the West and the EU. That is very important not only for the global economy but also for world peace. Let us not underestimate this parameter in these troubled times.”
This year marks 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China. The Greek president said China's development over the past 70 years shows its enormous creativeness.
SOUNDBITE(GREEK): PROKOPIS PAVLOPOULOS, Greek PresidentThe development of China over these years is something that has impressed the whole world. The way of development China has chosen is based on its own principles, its own values, its own way of seeing the economy. We may have different ways, but we respect the way others see the economy."
During his visit, the Greek president will also attend the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations to be opened on Wednesday in Beijing.
Pavlopoulos called on both sides to join hands in bridging different civilizations through dialogue.
"We are two countries of two ancient civilizations. They are different civilizations, but ancient, with deep roots and above all with some common values, some common the West and the EU, certain views prevailed that we are supposed to be living in an era of clash of civilizations. It is a big mistake. Civilizations do not have to collide. Sometimes, civilizations lose communication with each other, because bridges are cut off. We need to rebuild these bridges, we must restore this communication."
The president said China and Greece together can set an example of how much dialogue between civilizations can contribute to world peace.
"Peace in the world can only be established through peaceful coexistence. Peaceful coexistence can only be established on the basis of dialogue between civilizations. Civilization is the main pillar that can support the human being."