ATHENS, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — China and Greece, through seeking common grounds based on mutual respect, have set an example for mutually beneficial cooperation between countries of different political and social systems.
The formula of the ever robust Greece-China cooperation has three key elements: mutual support, mutual trust and win-win.
Firstly, mutual support is the cornerstone for bilateral ties. Despite differences in political systems, country sizes and cultural heritage, Greece and China respect and support each other’s core interests and major concerns.
In 1997, 2006 and 2011, Greece helped Chinese nationals withdraw from Albania, Lebanon and Libya respectively amid turmoils. China has also firmly supported Greece during the European country’s decade-long sovereign debt crisis.
Secondly, mutual trust is the catalyzer. China attaches no political strings to its investments in Greece. Greece is among the first European Union countries to sign an intergovernmental cooperation document with China to jointly advance the Belt and Road cooperation. In April, Greece also joined the cooperation mechanism between China and Central and Eastern European Countries as a full member.
Meanwhile, China always trusts Greece when its major projects like Piraeus Port were considered "uninvestable" by others. "China was here in difficult times for the Greek people and economy," said Adonis Georgiadis, Greek minister of development and investments.
Thirdly, win-win is the sustainer. China’s investments in Greece have not only helped the European country recover faster from its crisis, but also facilitated China’s cooperation with other European countries.
Bilateral cooperation has been increasingly fruitful. Exports from Greece to China reached 564 million U.S. dollars last year, rising by 31.2 percent year-on-year. And in the first half of 2019, bilateral trade between China and Greece reached 4.14 billion dollars, up by 21.4 percent year-on-year.
China has become one of Greece’s biggest investors in recent years. The Chinese-invested flagship project Piraeus Port has survived bankruptcy and become the largest container port in the Mediterranean.
Both the Chinese and the Greek sides hold high expectations for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Greece, during which the two countries will strengthen their comprehensive strategic partnership, draw a blueprint for the development of bilateral ties, and sign cooperation documents on investment and education as well as commercial agreements in such fields as ports, finance and energy.
As the first visit by a Chinese head of state since 2008, Xi’s trip to Greece follows the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), which is hailed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as an excellent opportunity to showcase the strong Greece-China relationship despite global uncertainties.
In a signed article titled "Let Wisdom of Ancient Civilizations Shine Through the Future" published Sunday on Greek newspaper Kathimerini (The Daily) ahead of his visit, Xi hailed the two countries as two great civilizations that have much in common to offer each other, understand each other better and always stand by each other.
It is believed that Xi’s visit will certainly open up a new chapter in the development of bilateral ties.
And in a world that is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, the two age-old civilizations now shoulder some new responsibilities to just as what Xi said in his article tap their civilizations for wisdom and build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equity, justice and mutually beneficial cooperation.