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Premier Wen Jiabao Meets with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou

2010/10/03

On October 2, 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens. The two leaders exchanged pragmatic views on China-Greece relations, China-EU relations and global issues in a friendly and frank manner and reached many important consensuses. The two sides issued a joint statement on deepening China-Greece all-round strategic partnership.

Wen said that both China and Greece are ancient civilizations and the two peoples have friendly feelings with each other. Over the years, the two countries have been supporting and helping each other and established solid political mutual trust. Greece has actively tackled the impact of sovereign debt crisis and passed the most difficult moment. China is willing to stand side by side with Greece to cope with the challenges and promote the development of all-round strategic partnership.

He noted that in its foreign exchange reserves China has bought and held Greek treasury bonds and will take an active attitude to subscribe the newly issued treasury bonds of Greece. He proposed the following points on expanding the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Greece:

First, deepen marine transport cooperation. China will set up a China-Greece special fund on ship development to provide a package of financial support for Greek shipowners to buy Chinese ships and rejuvenate the bilateral marine transport cooperation. The two sides will expand the throughput of Piraeus port and build the port into a distribution and transit center of Chinese exports of cargo to the EU; strengthen the bilateral coordination and cooperation in the international marine field, establish the China-Greece research center of marine transport energy efficiency and emission reduction and boost the sustainable development of marine transport industry.

Second, complement each other with economic advantages and promote the balanced and sustained development of bilateral trade and economic relations. Efforts should be made to try to double the bilateral trade volume within 5 years to US$8 billion. China is willing to increase import of competitive Greek products.

Third, encourage Chinese enterprises to expand investment in Greece and welcome Greek enterprises to explore the Chinese market. The Chinese and the Greek governments will provide facilitation and support for the cooperation of businesses between the two sides.

Fourth, reinforce cultural and educational exchanges. The two sides should increase cooperation on tourism, TV and film, academic exchanges, language teaching, historical sites protection, news and publication in order to promote mutual understanding.

Fifth, step up coordination and cooperation in such international organizations as the UN and jointly push forward the reform of the international financial system.

Papandreou, on behalf of the Greek government and people, extended congratulations on the 61st anniversary of the People's Republic of China and gratitude to Wen for his visit to Greece at a moment of economic difficulties. He said that with historic significance the visit symbolizes the friendship between the two countries and brings power of cooperation and overcoming difficulties to Greece. China's support for Greece is to support the EU. Greece fully agrees on the proposals put forward by Premier Wen and is willing to join hands with China to lift the bilateral all-round strategic partnership to a higher level. He noted that Greece supports the EU in recognizing China's full market economy status and believes the EU should lift the arms embargo on China.

Prior to the meeting, Papandreou held a grand welcome ceremony for Wen.

After the meeting, the two leaders attended the signing ceremony of bilateral cooperation agreements on economy and culture and jointly met the press.

On the same day, Wen and Papandreou visited the Piraeus port-a large China-Greece cooperation project located in Athens and held cordial talks with employees of both countries.

Piraeus port is located in the southeast part of Athens. It is the largest port of Greece and one of the top 50 container ports in the world and one of the largest container ports in the east part of Mediterranean. In 2008, COSCO Group got the 35-year concession of the No.2 and No.3 container terminals in the port.

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