Meeting of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau and Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today at Maximou Palace with Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau and Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister said:
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome the Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Communist Party of China to Athens. I especially appreciate the fact that this is one the first visits conducted by a Chinese delegation abroad, due to the pandemic.
And I must tell you that your presence in Greece at this juncture bears increased important, since China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is advocating the principles of International Law.
Because our country, as you know, in addition to the aggression of Turkey, is also faced with actions that challenge every rule of the United Nations Charter; with a rhetoric that distorts History and adulterates Geography, undermining legitimacy; and with moves that are endangering security across the Mediterranean.
This is why, I would like to inform you, our Foreign Minister, Mr. Dendias, will deliver to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York today a letter of mine detailing and documenting Ankara’s illegal activity, as well as the threats that such activity poses on stability of the greater region. A region which -as you know- is of vital importance to international trade, energy routes and communications.
In these tough times, any tension, anywhere in the world, is a challenge to the forces of peace. All the more so, when this tension develops on the eastern borders of Greece, which are the easternmost borders of Europe as well, and at the crossroads of three continents.
Consequently, Turkey’s illegal activity sets an international challenge calling for an international response. And we may only be guided, as I am sure you will agree, by International Law.
It is no secret that along with its rights, Greece has always defended good neighbourly relations. I see diplomacy as the other face of my country’s power.
This is why I only retain one of the numerous exaggerated statements made by Mr. Erdogan, the one about dialogue, and to this I respond with these six clear words: when provocations stop, the talks start.
My country both can and wants to discuss the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean on the basis of International Law. But without extortions and irrational behaviours. So, let the threats stop for the contacts to be initiated.
Dear Yang Jiechi,
Current developments have probably caused my statements to be focused mostly on issues of national interest. This is reasonable, however, since your country has a global influence that Greece looks to. It does not, however, signify that I appreciate less the development of our bilateral co-operation.
After all, as we had the opportunity to confirm during my visit to Shanghai and President Xi’s visit to Greece last November, the ties between our two countries go well beyond History and centuries-old civilisations. They also include sincere relations with strategic characteristics, especially in the areas of investments, trade and tourism.
These are the topics on the agenda of our bilateral talks. And I am confident that the future of our two countries’ relations will be more optimistic and brighter, just like the sun that welcomed you to Athens today. Once again, welcome, and please convey my appreciation to President Xi, and I am looking forward to our constructive talks.”
On his part, Mr Yang Jiechi stated (as interpreted):
“Your excellency, Prime Minister of Greece, please allow me to start by conveying the sincere regards of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
I am very pleased, we are very pleased to see that with the joint efforts of the Government and the people of Greece, the country’s epidemiological picture has greatly improved, and economic activity is returning to normal.
We are committed to strengthening our co-operation with Greece in our common fight against the epidemic, and strongly support the role of the World Health Organisation in this effort.
As you already mentioned, last year the leaders of our two countries successfully exchanged visits, and you also participated in the Shanghai International Fair.
The main objective of my visit today is to further implement, together with you, the important agreements that the leaderships of our two countries reached last year, and further intensify the overall strategic partnership between China and Greece.
As a responsible country, China insists on the path of peaceful growth and we believe that all countries in the world must follow this path.
China and Greece are both ancient civilizations. Despite the impact of the epidemic, the exchanges of our two countries in economy, trade, science, culture are proceeding smoothly, and we are exploring the potential for further development of these collaborations.
For the time being, there are numerous internet exchanges, and we are discussing and looking into the possibilities for physical exchanges. This is why I am visiting your country this time. Before Greece, I went to Myanmar and Spain. Indeed, it is my first visit to Europe after the coronavirus broke out.
And I believe that our bilateral exchanges are beneficial for both our peoples, starting with the model project of the Piraeus port investment. This is also a model project to link the “One Belt, One Road” initiative with Greece’s development strategy.
In a few months, Shanghai will organise the third International Imports-Exports Fair, and we hope that increasingly more Greek businessmen will participate.
We are willing to import increasingly more Greek products and attract ever more Greek investors to invest in China. Accordingly, we are encouraging Chinese businessmen to invest in Greece.
Peace and stability in this part of the world is very important. China is monitoring closely the developments in the eastern Mediterranean, and we believe that the parties involved must resolve their differences through dialogue avoiding that can escalate the situation.
Thank you very much Prime Minister for the honour of meeting me today. We will shortly have more time to discuss during our extended talks”.
During the talks between to two sides the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and the China-Greece bilateral co-operation were discussed. Mr. Mitsotakis and Mr. Jiechi noted that due to the coronavirus it was not possible to make all the visits that had been planned between the two countries, and that potential ways of holding these visits in the future will be explored.