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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papoulias on China visit

  • [01] Papoulias on China visit

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Monday afternoon began an official visit to China designed to strengthen bilateral relations with Athens in the financial and investment sectors.

    In a statement attesting to the high-level bilateral relations between Athens and Beijing after his meeting with Papoulias, Chinese President Hu Jintao commented on the assistance given by Greece following the devastating earthquakes in China and stressed that ?a friend in need is a friend indeed.? He also referred to a memorandum of bilateral cooperation signed by the two sides and expressed confidence that "strategic cooperation between the two countries will be developed even further".

    The Greek president, on his part, stressed that China was a great country with a "huge economic and political role" and said that bilateral relations with Greece had "reached the highest level of cordiality and friendship". He also conveyed the anguish of the Greek people at the massive destruction and loss of life caused by the recent earthquakes in China and said that Greece had done its utmost to assist China's recovery from this major setback.

    The strategic nature of relations between Athens and Beijing was first confirmed by the joint statement on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed during Prime Minister Costas Karamanlisā visit to China in January 2006.

    Both the Greek and the Chinese sides see President Papouliasā visit to Beijing and Shanghai on Wednesday as a follow up to the visits made during the past two years to China by PM Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. The two sides have agreed to further promote bilateral relations in the financial and investment sectors and to cut down the trade balance deficit recorded in Greece, hence the large business delegation accompanying President Papoulias.

    Furthermore, the Greek president underlined that 60 percent of the Chinese maritime import trade is conducted by Greek-ownership cargo ships, pointing out that Chinese shipyards have undertaken to build a large number of Greek-owned ships.

    The official talks in the Peopleās Building in Beijing opened with the earthquakes in Greece and China, the imminent Olympic Games being hosted in the Chinese capital and Sino-Greek cooperation for their organization, while the importance of the direct air transportation between the two countries launched last November was also stressed.

    President Papoulias briefed the Chinese president on the situation in the Balkans making a special reference to Kosovo. On the FYROM name issue, he called on Beijing to support any relative UN Security Council resolution. He also referred to the Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and developments in Europe after the Irish referendum on the Constitutional Treaty. Energy issues were also on the table.

    Agreements were signed between the justice ministries of the two countries as well as between the Athens University of Economics and Business and the Confucius Institute. A memorandum of understanding on a developmental cooperation bilateral agreement was also signed.

    The talks were held in the presence of Employment Minister Fani Pali-Petralia, Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis and Deputy Foreign Ministers Yannis Valinakis and Petros Doukas accompanying the Greek President.

    Papoulias also attended a formal dinner hosted by his Chinese counterpart and was accompanied by the Hu Jintao to a special event on the 2,500 years of Greek music held at Beijingās Century Theater. Papoulias is only the second foreign leader after Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Chinese president has accompanied to a similar event.

    President Papoulias will meet Tuesday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and National Peopleās Congress President Wu Bangguo. He will also attend a Greek-Chinese business conference and inaugurate a painting exhibition with works by Mina Valiraki within the framework of the Cultural Year of Greece celebrations in China.

    CAPTION: Greek President Karolos Papoulias (L) being welcomed by Chinese President Hu Jintao for talks in Beijing on Monday.

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