Ambassador of China Xiao Juncheng: Greece is a gateway between Asia and Europe


The role of Greece in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean, but also more broadly as a “gateway” and “bridge” between Asia and Europe, was highlighted by the Chinese Ambassador to our country Xiao Jungeng in a press conference at the Chinese embassy on the occasion of the 50th anniversary diplomatic relations.

“Greece is an important force for maintaining the stability and security of the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

In fact, he pointed out that “Greece, as the cradle of Western civilization, plays the role of a bridge for dialogue between cultures” and stressed that Greece has become the gateway to cooperation between Asia and Europe.

At the same time, the Chinese ambassador made it clear that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected, and that the escalation of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean does not serve the interests of either party.

Launching the briefing, Xiao Jungcheng focused on the relations between Greece and China and summarized them in four key phrases, with an emphasis on reciprocity: “mutual friendly trust”, “mutual learning between cultures”, “mutually beneficial cooperation” and “Mutual understanding between peoples”.

Against the backdrop of the logo for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, Xiao Juncheng said that it was jointly designed by the two sides, that it consists of the number “50” and contains the colors of the national flags of the two countries, as well as cultural symbols. of China and Greece, and demonstrates that one ancient civilization learns from the other.

“This combination symbolizes the close and mature friendly relationship between our two countries and also refers to the long history of the two ancient civilizations and the deep friendship between the two peoples,” said the Chinese ambassador.

The events for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Greece and China

In this context, he referred to the events planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The Chinese and Greek sides will hold a series of joint events and further promote bilateral practical co-operation in various fields, he said.

In particular, high-level close exchanges will take place, such as the 4th Meeting of the Committee of the Three-Year Cooperation Plan in Key Sectors, the 13th Meeting of the China-Greece Joint Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation and the inauguration of the Center for Comparative Greek and Chinese Studies of the Chinese Cultural Center in Athens.

He further announced that the Chinese embassy in Greece will work with relevant bodies of the two countries to hold an academic symposium and a concert in the coming weeks to celebrate the 50th anniversary, while there will be cooperation with various organizations and personalities from both countries. in areas such as culture and the media, as well as representatives of the local Chinese community.

Xiaojuncheng caught the thread of bilateral relations in 1972, with the conclusion of diplomatic relations, and pointed out that both China and Greece are representatives of ancient civilizations.

The development of relations between Greece and China showed the world the beauty of harmony between ancient civilizations and the mutually beneficial cooperation also showed the dynamism of their friendship in the new era, he noted.

Outlining the framework of bilateral relations, culminating in “mutual friendly trust”, the Chinese ambassador said that in the last half century since the conclusion of diplomatic ties, despite changes in the international arena, China-Greece friendly relations have been growing steadily, noting that their content and scope are constantly expanding.

Regarding the second cornerstone of bilateral relations, he noted that exchanges and co-operation between the two countries have made impressive achievements in areas such as the Olympics, culture, tourism and education in recent years.

He made special reference to the Olympic Games, emphasizing that Greece and China jointly defend and inspire the Olympic ideal and underlined that with the strong support from Greece, Beijing successfully hosted the Winter Olympics earlier this year and became the first “Double Olympic City” in the world.

He even reminded that on the afternoon of February 4, at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, a Chinese choir consisting of about 40 children from the Chinese countryside sang the “Olympic Anthem” in Greek, impressing the whole planet.

He also referred to the China-Greece Year of Culture and Tourism that started in Athens last September and in March this year the two sides signed a joint action plan for tourism for the next three years.

In addition, he said that in June 2021, a Chinese publishing company translated into Chinese and published in China the Greek literary work “A Child Counts the Stars”, “which provides an important window for the Chinese people to understand Greek culture”.

He further stressed the importance of “mutually beneficial cooperation”, noting that in the light of the “Belt and Road” Initiative cooperation, realistic cooperation between China and Greece has yielded fruitful results.

He said the Joint Economic and Trade Committee has met 13 times and the China International Import Expo and the exhibition between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have become important platforms for business cooperation between the two countries.

Greece, China’s fourth largest trading partner among Central and Eastern European countries

Focusing on bilateral trade and citing statistics from the Chinese side, Xiao Juncheng said its volume jumped to $ 12.15 billion in 2021, from less than $ 100 million in the early 1990s.

Greece has become China’s fourth largest trading partner among Central and Eastern European countries, and China remains Greece’s third largest trading partner in the world and the largest outside the EU, he said.

Referring to statistics from the Greek side, he said that since 2010, net inflows of foreign direct investment from China amounted to almost 2.2 billion euros, making China the sixth in the world and the first outside Europe among the main sources of investment in Greece.

He also noted that China and Greece have carried out extensive mutually beneficial cooperation in areas such as transport, energy, communications and finance, and particularly focused on COSCO’s investment in the port of Piraeus.

An important dimension for bilateral relations was given to the mutual understanding between the two peoples, recalling, among other things, the assistance provided by Greece for the safe evacuation of Chinese citizens from war-torn areas, the solidarity of Greeks in China when the pandemic and the famine broke out. sanitary ware from China to Greece.

“The principle of territorial sovereignty of each country must be respected and respected”

With regard to Ukraine, Chinese Ambassador Xiao Juncheng expressed the belief that the principle of territorial sovereignty of each country must be respected and respected, and that security concerns of each country must also be respected and addressed. He blamed the United States for “this war”, adding that even Pope Francis had suggested that NATO might have provoked the Russia-Ukraine war.

“The United States is essentially weakening Russia and controlling Europe to the detriment of the Ukrainians, in order to maintain their global hegemony,” he said.

Xiaoxeng said that on the issue of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China is only on the side of peace, adding: “We believe that peace talks are the most realistic and effective solution to the crisis. Therefore, the President [της Κίνας] Xi Jinping spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the second day of the conflict, as well as with leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the European Union, urging the international community to continue to negotiate and facilitate peace, to prevent a humanitarian crisis. “to forge peace for Europe and Eurasia and to prevent the escalation and escalation of the regional conflict.”

In particular, he stressed the need to prevent the escalation and escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and urged “all parties to do more to facilitate peace talks and avoid provoking conflicts.”

Focusing on Europe, the Chinese diplomat stressed that China stands on the side of building its own autonomous community.

“A truly secure Europe could be built under the guidance of the principle of the indivisibility of security. “It’s inconceivable that a European security order could function effectively with the exception of Russia.”

Continuing with China-EU relations, he said there is no fundamental conflict of interest or geopolitical contradiction, and neither side is a threat to the other. “It serves neither the interests of European countries nor world peace and stability to allow the confrontation of camps and a new Cold War.

We are pleased to see that many European countries have a clear idea of ​​this.

“On May 10, Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with French President Macron, during which President Macron said that France and the EU would respect strategic autonomy and independence and would not support or take part in camp confrontations.”

Regarding sanctions against Russia, the Chinese ambassador said that history and reality have taught that they have never been effective means of solving problems and that they will not bring peace and security, but new and growing tensions.

China, he added, “always calls for a prudent approach to the use of sanctions and opposes unilateral sanctions.”

“The escalation of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean does not serve the interests of either party”

He went on to say that Greece was concerned about the practice of forcibly changing borders, which could be followed in other parts of Europe.

“China fully understands this and has made clear its position that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and maintained. It is the position of principles that China has always supported. The escalation of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean does not serve the interests of either side.

“It is hoped that the parties concerned will resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, refrain from actions that could escalate tensions and work together to maintain peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” he said.

Finally, regarding the situation of the pandemic in China, Xiao Jungheng said that since its outbreak he has been following the “zero case” approach and is constantly adapting the prevention and control measures according to the developments in the situation.

. He even described the “zero case” approach as the best choice based on China’s national conditions and the current epidemic situation.

He explained that China has a population of more than 1.4 billion, with large regional disparities and unequal distribution of medical resources, and that if prevention and control measures are relaxed hastily, the recovery of the epidemic will put great pressure on the health system, which will pose serious risks to the country’s economic development and social stability.

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