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Friday, February 20, 2015, 16:10

Greek PM backs Chinese port investment

By Xinhua

 Greek PM backs Chinese port investment
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras inspects a guard of honour after boarding the Chinese frigate Changbaishan at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Feb 19, 2015. (Photo / Agencies)

ATHENS - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday praised bilateral cooperation between his country and China and sent best wishes to Chinese people for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

"We will seek new ways of cooperation between the Greek state and the Chinese side," Tsipras said in a speech delivered at a reception hosted by the 18th escort fleet of the Chinese navy at Piraeus port.

Tsipras said his government will support China's shipping conglomerate COSCO's investment at Piraeus port, as well as Chinese investments in other sectors across Greece.

He expressed confidence that Piraeus port, as a key gateway for the delivery of Chinese products to Europe, can become a leading trade hub on a European and international level.

Tsipras added that there was great potential for bilateral cooperation in transports, railways, as well as in the tourism and culture fields.

The Prime Minister hailed the historical strong Sino-Greek ties, noting that cooperation, in particular in the maritime sector, was a solid basis for strengthening collaboration in other sectors in recent years.

Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli, Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Zhang Chuanshu and other Chinese officials welcomed the Greek leader and other dignitaries in the reception to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Thursday.

Thursday's event was attended among others by Alternate Greek Shipping Minister Theodoris Dritsas, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and Piraeus Port Authority chief Yorgos Anomeritis.

Addressing the ceremony, Rear Admiral Zhang referred to Greece' s help in the evacuation operation of thousands of Chinese nationals from war-torn Libya by Greek ships in recent years.

"Greece will always stand by the side of Chinese people when needed," Tsipras said, underlining the significance of bilateral collaboration in such operations in Libya and in Albania in the past.

Three ships of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) of the 18th escort fleet sailed in the port of Piraeus on Monday, after taking part in international operations against piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia's coasts.

The 18th Chinese naval escort fleet concludes the visit to Greece on Friday, ending a tour across Europe which also included Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

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