Kathimerini: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Greece for visit

12 Novembre, 2019, 04:57 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Kathimerini: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Greece for visit

COSCO plans to turn Piraeus port into the biggest commercial harbor in Europe, spending about 600 million euros ($660 million) to boost operations, including mandatory investments of 300 million euros by 2022 which once concluded will allow it to acquire an additional 16 percent stake in the port.

The president of China arrived in Athens for a three-day visit to discuss bilateral relations, investment and trade.

Xi met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding, stating their mutual will to overcome any obstacles in the implementation of COSCO's investment in Piraeus, a Greek government official said.

"We have a number of important deals that open the Chinese market to Greek products", Mitsotakis told the paper in an interview published Sunday.

Xi Jinping will also go to Piraeus, the Mediterranean port controlled by the Chinese state shipping company Cosco.

Greece has been building progressively closer trade relations with China for more than a decade.

"China has been investing in Greece in times when other countries shied away", he said in the opening speech.

It is because, Xi said, as two countries with ancient civilizations, China and Greece share common or similar visions and have achieved national modernization and development through arduous struggles.

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The agreements signed Monday will "unleash potential in energy, transport and financial cooperation", Xi said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan disembark from the airplane upon their arrival at the airport in Athens, Greece, Nov. 10, 2019.

The business forum, titled "China-Greece: A New Era in Economic Cooperation", was part of the state visit by the prime minister.

According to the Greek government, Greek shipowners have also built more than 1,000 vessels worth over $50 billion (45 billion euros) in China in the past 15 years.

Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos reports from Piraeus. It coincides with Greece's ambition to bring in 500,000 Chinese tourists by 2021, almost three-folds from 180,000 previous year.

Over 5,000 Chinese have purchased property in Greece, taking advantage of a five-year "Golden Visa" residence programme launched in 2013.

Greece has also signed up to China's new "Belt and Road" project, a $1 trillion global investment programme aiming to forward Chinese goods to markets further afield.

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