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Premier Wen makes five-point proposal on China-Greece ties

10-03-2010 07:52 BJT Special Report:Wen visits 4 European nations, attends 8th ASEM |

ATHENS, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday made a five-point proposal on boosting ties with Greece during talks with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, stressing that China is willing to work with the European country to combat the lingering financial crisis.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (R) shakes hands with Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao during a press conference in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 2, 2010.
(Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

Wen arrived in Athens earlier in the day, starting a three-day official visit to the country, the first by a Chinese premier in 24 years.

Papandreou held a grand welcoming ceremony for Wen after the Chinese premier's arrival.

Wen said both countries were great civilizations in the history and the people of the two countries have always been amicable to each other. There have been consistent mutual support, mutual help and solid political mutual trust between the two nations for a long time.

"Currently, Greece is actively dealing with the impact inflicted by the sovereign debt crisis and has experienced the hardest time," Wen said during the talks with Papandreou.

"China will work with Greece to deal with various challenges and deepen the China-Greece comprehensive strategic partnership," he added.

China has bought and is now holding Greece's treasury bonds, and will continue to "take positive attitude to participate in the purchase of Greece's new treasury bonds," said Wen, adding that it served as one of China's measures to help the sovereign debt-ridden country.

Wen put forward a five-point proposal for the further development of China-Greece ties concerning cooperation in maritime transportation, trade and investment.

China will set up a special fund on China-Greece shipping cooperation, with the initial part of 5 billion U.S. dollars, in a bid to promote cooperation in maritime transportation between the two countries, said Wen.

He added China will help upgrade Greece's southeast and largest port Piraeus to a distributing center for Chinese exports to Europe.

Wen said he believes it is realizable for trade volume between the two countries to double and reach the goal of 8 billion dollars in five years, adding China will expand the import from Greece.

China encourages its companies to invest in Greece and also welcomes Greek companies to explore the Chinese market, said Wen, who expressed the hope that the two governments will provide convenience for their companies in terms of mutual investment.

Wen also urged the two countries to increase exchange in culture and humanities in a bid to strengthen mutual understandings not only between China and Greece, but also between China and Europe as a whole.

He also called for the two sides to coordinate closely in international organizations including the United Nations, and jointly promote the reform of the international financial system.

Fully embracing Wen's proposal, Papandreou said Greece would make joint efforts with China to lift bilateral ties to a new level.

He congratulated Wen for the 61st founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China on the behalf of the Greek government and people, and thanked Wen for his "historic visit" at a time when the European country is experiencing many difficulties.

Papandreou said Wen's visit would help Greece to overcome the hardship and advance bilateral cooperation. By providing assistance to Greece, China is supporting Europe as a whole, he said.

Greece supports the idea that the European Union (EU) should recognize China's full market economy status, Papandreou said, adding that the EU should also lift its arms embargo on China.

During the talks, the two leaders had friendly, candid and pragmatic discussions on issues concerning bilateral ties, the China-EU relationship as well as global issues. They reached a lot of consensus.

The two sides issued a joint statement on deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership.

After their talks, Wen and Papandreou attended a signing ceremony for 13 bilateral deals, which cover areas concerning cooperation in maritime transportation, loan, telecommunication, export and cultural exchanges. 

The two leaders also visited the Piraeus Pier where Chinese and Greek companies are carrying out big-scale cooperation programs.

Greece is the first leg of Wen's four-nation tour, which will last till Oct. 9 and will also take Wen to Belgium, Italy and Turkey. The Chinese premier will also attend the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the 13th China-European Union (EU) summit in Brussels from Oct. 4 to 6.


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