31 January, 2007
President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received visiting Chinese State Councilor Hua Jian-min, who is also Secretary-General of China's State Council. They discussed bilateral relations between Greece and China, major international issues and the Olympic Games that will take place in Beijing in 2008.
"The Greek people, the Greek government and I, personally, consider your country to be a friendly country to which we are connected by many bonds and especially historic bonds," Papoulias said.
The Chinese dignitary's presence in Greece was a result of the "visit, which had very good results of the Prime Minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis to your country," Papoulias added.
The Greek president also praised China's contribution to peace in a region of the world undergoing crises and expressed Greece's warmest wishes for the success of the Beijing Olympics, saying that Greece would contribute to this by sharing the experiences it had gained by hosting the highly successful Athens Games in 2004.
Hua Jianmin conveyed the "warm regards and hearty wishes" of Chinese President Hu Jintao and noted that President Papoulias was a "old and good friend of the Chinese people" that had visited China several times in the past.
He said that China greatly appreciated the great interest Papoulias had shown in promoting bilateral relations between Greece and China and his important contribution in this regard.
Noting that this was his first ever visit to Greece, Hua Jianmin said that he had been greatly impressed by the country's natural beauty, as well as the splendor of the ancient Greek civilization during his visit to the National Archaeological Museum earlier that morning.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday met visiting Chinese State Councilor Hua Jianmin and discussed ways in which a joint Greek-Chinese statement calling for a "strategic, partnership relationship" between the two countries might be promoted in practice. The statement was made during Karamanlis' trip to China last year.
The aim of Hua Jianmin's visit to Greece is to launch initiatives that will put the statement on a practical footing, in terms of cooperation on political cooperation and cooperation in the economic and commercial sector.
The excellent atmosphere in bilateral relations between Greece and China and the steadily improving relations in the political, economic and cultural field were underlined by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis after meeting on Tuesday with visiting Chinese State Councilor and State Council Secretary General Hua Jianmin. She stressed the determination of both sides to keep up efforts in this direction.
A special emphasis was given to economic relations, particularly in the sectors of commerce, shipping and tourism, while Bakoyannis stressed that there is room for further improvement.
The minister said that there is great potential for an increase of Greek exports to the China while she also referred to Greek ports serving as transit trade hubs in transactions with SE European and Eastern Mediterranean countries.
In the meeting they also stressed the importance of the strategic partnership relation agreement signed by the two countries during Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’ visit to Beijing last January, which Bakoyannis described as a landmark for the further development of bilateral relations.
Apart from bilateral issues, they also discussed a wide range of regional and international issues.
They ascertained the progress made in dialogue between the EU and China, the human rights’ issue included, while Bakoyannis referred to China’s policy regarding the Cyprus issue and underlined the substantive cooperation between Greece and China in the UN Security Council during Greece’s two-year term as a non-permanent member.
Bakoyannis also confirmed Greece’s position in favor of a united China principle.
The foreign minister and the Chinese dignitary additionally discussed the Greek cultural year in China scheduled to take place from September 2007 to September 2008 within the framework of bilateral cultural cooperation.
Visiting Chinese State Councilor Hua Jianmin, who is also Secretary-General of China's State Council, on Tuesday afternoon, was given a tour of the National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government (EKDDA).
Hua Jianmin, who is heading a 17-member delegation, was briefed by EKKDA Secretary-General George Voutsinos on the Center’s activities and particularly on its international cooperation with European schools and institutes.
The Chinese delegation's visit to the Centre was a desire by Hua Jianmin, a visit provided by the Memorandum of Cooperation which was signed in Beijing last May between EKDDA and China's National Administration School.
Source: Athens News Agency