Chinese President Xi Jinping touched down in Athens on Sunday evening, for a three-day official visit looking at “a deeper cooperation with Greece in all sectors.” It is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to the European nation in 11 years.
Following laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma, Xi was received by President Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis started at 11 o’ clock.
The two countries will sign sixteen cooperation agreements including the sectors of shipping, energy, tourism, education, fruit export, investment but also TV productions.
Upon his arrival, Xi said Greece boasts long history and glorious culture and has made outstanding contributions to the progress of human civilizations.
“China and Greece shine for each other in their cultures, and they also enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges,” Xi said.
Xi pointed out that China and Greece have maintained a high level of development in their relations over recent years, as witnessed by frequent high-level exchanges, constant deepening of political mutual trust, and fruitful cooperation results under the Belt and Road Initiative that is marked by the Piraeus Port project.
“Both China and Greece are at a critical stage of their respective development, and it is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people to deepen bilateral relations and expand practical cooperation,” Xi said.
President Pavlopoulos stressed that Xi Jinping’s visit to Athens “emblematically upgrades the strategic relationship between Greece and China, which was based on Cosco’s 2006 investment.”
At the same time, he pointed out that “Greeks are paving the way for China to meet, under conditions of peaceful co-operation and creation, the states and peoples of the European Union so that, in full compliance with International and European Law, we can play a respective role, mutually, in Greece and China.”
“Relations with Greece are a priority for China,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said last week. “They came and invested in Greece when others stayed away” during the crisis, he added.
Greece has been building progressively closer trade relations with China for more than a decade.
Xi Jinping’s visit to Greece shortly after a visit by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Shanghai is expected to further boost Greek-Chinese relations, which as of 2006 have become strategic in nature.
According to amna, President Xi Jinping’s schedule is as follows:
MONDAY, Nov. 11
– 09.50, laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma
– 10.00, received by President Pavlopoulos at presidential mansion, for talks between delegations
– 11.10, meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Maximos Mansion and signing of bilateral agreements, followed by statements to the press
– 12.40, luncheon in honor of President Xi Jinping by PM Mitsotakis at a central Athenian restaurant
– 16.30, touring of Cosco’s Container Terminal in Piraeus, accompanied by PM Mitsotakis and both leaders’ spouses
– 19.00, dinner in his honor by President Pavlopoulos at the presidential mansion
TUESDAY, Nov. 12
– 10.30, accompanied by Pavlopoulos on a tour of the Acropolis Museum before departing Greece.
Traffic restrictions are scheduled in Athens (morning and afternoon/evening) and Piraeus (afternoon) due to the Chinese President’s program.
Metro station in Syntagma was closed to public on Monday morning.
Greece is the first stop of Xi’s ongoing Europe and Latin America tour.