Even as Greece continues negotiations over a bailout deal with the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday praised bilateral cooperation between his country and China.
“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.
Talks between Greece and its 18 eurozone partners over the extension to Tsipras’ government’s bailout package broke down acrimoniously in Brussels.
Meanwhile, Tsipras underlined the significance of Sino-Greek collaboration in such operations in Libya and in Albania in the past.
“Greece will always stand by the side of Chinese people when needed,” Tsipras said.
Thursday’s event was attended among others by Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli.
Greece’s Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the two nations must boost defense ties.
“The visit of the 18th escort fleet of the Chinese navy is a great honor. It proves that good cooperation between the two nations can continue, and apart from the business sector, it can be extended in the defense industry,” he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli said both Greece and China have contributed greatly to the ancient oceanic civilization.
“I am confident that the traditional friendly Sino-Greek relationship will be further developed based on the principle of mutual respect, mutual trust and win-win cooperation, benefiting the two peoples and making greater contribution to regional peace and cooperation, ” said Zou.
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 anti-piracy operations 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.
TBP and Agencies