Greek Prime minister Alexis Tsipras visited Beijing, on 12-15 May, 2017, to attend the high level Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. In Beijing, the PM had bilateral meetings with the President and the Prime minister of the People’s Republic of China, as well as other dignitaries who attended the forum.
(Photo ANA-MPA /PM's Office/ Andrea Bonetti)
Prime minister Alexis Tsipras visited Beijing on 12-15 May on the occasion of a high level Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The PM addressed the plenary session of the Heads of States and Governments Forum, and made two further interventions, one at a roundtable discussion on “Connectivity for interconnected development” and one during a working diner on “Cultural exchanges and building human ties”.
While in Beijing, Tsipras had meetings with the President and the Prime minister of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. He also addressed the 2nd Greek-Chinese City Forum and inaugurated the Greek Studies Centre at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).
Bilateral meetings with Chinese officials
At the crossroads of three continents, Greece constitutes an important hub in the economic, energy and cultural sectors; thus, it can serve as a bridge between China and Europe, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras noted during a meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, on 13 May 2017. Tsipras stressed the need of the further strengthening of cooperation with Beijing, as China’s strategic vision coincides with that of Greece.
On his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed the particular dynamism and vigour that has been recorded in the two countries' relationship, noting that Greece has a key role in the international arena and is one of China's most trusted partners. He particularly praised the role of Piraeus Port, pointing to the goal of rendering it the largest in the Mediterranean by attracting new investment from China to further develop it and also stressed the need to strengthen cultural ties between the peoples of Greece and China.
Serious steps have been taken over the past year to further develop Greece-China relations, whose solid foundations lay in the cultures of the two countries, Tsipras reiterated during his meeting with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, which was also attended by Foreign Ministers Nikos Kotzias, Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas, Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for International Economic Relations Giorgos Tsipras.
2nd Greek-Chinese City Forum
“We want a strategic and long-lasting cooperation between Greece and China”, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, addressing the 2nd Greek-Chinese City Forum in Beijing on 13 May. Such a cooperation can be built through closer ties in all areas, the prime minister said, pointing to the important agreements signed between the two sides on energy, infrastructure and telecommunications and proposing extending it to cover culture, tourism, education, agricultural and industrial production. To this end, the PM referred to the fact that 2017 is a year of cultural exchanges between Greece and China, while China will be the guest of honour country at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September 2017.
Inauguration of Greek Studies Centre at BFSU
On the first day of his visit to Beijing, Tsipras inaugurated the Greek Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University BFSU). The BFSU is celebrating this year the 10th anniversary since the launch of tits undergraduate Greek language course. The new Centre will be focusing on the study of all aspects of Greek politics, economy and culture, aiming to substancially contribute to the development of Sino-Greek relations.
In his address, the PM praised the role of educational and research institutions in pursuing a deeper understanding between modern Greece and China, through their history and culture. Drawing on past experience, when culture, education and science, together with contacts and exchanges between peoples formed the basis of the traditional Silk Road, linking China and Europe, with Greece playing a central role in these relations, Tsipras noted that today, our mutually beneficial cooperation in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative can only be based on culture, education and contacts between our peoples and, in particular, between young people.