Interview: Greek president eyes even better relations with China

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-11 16:18:19|Editor: ZX
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Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos receives an interview with Xinhua in Athens, Greece, on May 6, 2019. The already very good Sino-Greek relations will become even better, closer and more productive, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos told Xinhua in a recent interview. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

by Yu Shuaishuai, Maria Spiliopoulou, Li Xiaopeng

ATHENS, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The already very good Sino-Greek relations will become even better, closer and more productive, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Greek president made the remarks ahead of his five-day state visit to China starting Sunday, during which he will also attend the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations.

This will not be Pavlopoulos' first visit to China. He visited China a few months before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in his capacity as the Greek minister of the interior.

"I remember with nostalgia and satisfaction ... that very important visit," which helped lay the foundation for the bilateral relations today, Pavlopoulos said.

The Sino-Greek cooperation has flourished over the years although Greece once suffered from an acute debt crisis, he said, adding, "This shows how deep the roots of our relations are."

"Our two peoples have relationships that, you know, are not based on something superficial. It is not something circumstantial and opportunistic," he said. "They are relations based mainly on the role that each country envisions for itself and for peoples."

Pavlopoulos said he believes that such sound bilateral relations could be strengthened in the future.

"Sino-Greek ties will further deepen," which will certainly facilitate China's ties with the international community, especially with the European Union (EU), he said.

"We have never considered Greece isolated from the surroundings in which we live. We always see Greece as a dynamic member of the international community and especially as one of the key partners of our big European family, the European Union," Pavlopoulos said.

Therefore, stronger Sino-Greek relations will bring China closer to the EU and the world at large, he said.

The president said he hopes both countries could enhance cooperation within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), suggesting that the two countries further develop bilateral economic cooperation.

"The development of China over these years is something that has impressed the whole world. The way of development China has chosen is based on its own principles, its own values, its own way of seeing the economy. We may have different ways, but we respect the way others see the economy," he said.

"We believe that we can work together despite the differences that may exist in the way we choose to make economic decisions," he added.

Pavlopoulos also called on both sides to join hands in bridging different civilizations through dialogue.

"We are two countries of two ancient civilizations. They are different civilizations, but ancient, with deep roots and above all with some common values, some common ideals," he said.

"We understand something that is extremely important in today's world -- global peace depends on the dialogue between civilizations," Pavlopoulos said.

"The East and the West, we have many more things that unite us than those that separate us," Pavlopoulos said, noting that China and Greece together can set an example of how much dialogue between civilizations can contribute to world peace.