Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis paid an official visit to China, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang and Chairman of the National People’s Congress of China Zhao Leji, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
At the beginning of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Prime Minister stated:
“Thank you for your warm words and your warm welcome. Let me start by conveying the greetings of our President, Mrs. Katerina Sakellaropoulou. It was four years ago since you visited Athens and what was an important meeting and indeed a lot has happened over these past four years. Our country has progressed significantly and we are now confident that we have left the more difficult years of the economic crisis behind us. It is also to our great satisfaction that two of your greatest Chinese credit rating agencies have upgraded the sovereign credit rating of our country.
As you pointed out, Greece and China have a strong relationship, a strong economic relationship. The Port of Piraeus signifies this. It has been a successful investment for both parties and we’re looking forward to further expand it. Of course, there is significant room to also improve our trade relationship for more Greek products to enter the Chinese market, for more Chinese visitors to visit Greece.
I also would like to place particular emphasis on the cultural exchanges between our two countries. Our Minister of Culture was in Beijing a few days ago. Greece and China, as two ancient civilizations, have a lot to share with the world and a lot to learn from each other. I’m glad that also at your level, at the level of the President of China, this importance of the cultural relationship between our two countries is acknowledged.
Again, I would like to thank you on behalf of our delegation for this very warm welcome. And looking forward to welcome you again to Greece at the earliest possible time”.
During the meetings, the two sides reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, which the Prime Minister described as “strong and mutually beneficial”, while discussing ways to enhance these relations, particularly in the fields of economy, trade, tourism and culture.
The Prime Minister made special reference to the upgrade of Greece’s credit rating to investment grade by Chinese companies and to the investment opportunities in Greece, which, as he said, has left the crisis era behind.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis placed particular emphasis on economic cooperation and specifically on increasing Greek exports, especially of agricultural products to China, as well as on cooperation in tourism so that Chinese tourist arrivals in Greece reach pre-pandemic levels.
There was also an exchange of views on EU-China relations. The Prime Minister reiterated Greece’s long-standing position on the necessity for open channels of communication between the EU and China, emphasizing the mutual interest in maintaining a constructive and stable relationship. He pointed out Greece’s potential role as a “bridge” in this relationship. At the same time, he stressed his belief that Europe must develop strategic autonomy in order to address global geopolitical challenges effectively.
He also stressed the need for EU-China cooperation in order to tackle major challenges, such as climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Furthermore, they discussed issues of regional and international interest. Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined the important role that China can play in maintaining international peace and resolving global crises, such as the war in Ukraine, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
The Prime Minister also underlined Greece’s firm position regarding the need for the peaceful resolution of disputes based on International Law.
Earlier, a Bilateral Greece-China Aviation Agreement was signed. The agreement updates the institutional aviation framework between the two countries and will strengthen the connections of Greek companies with China and vice versa.