China-Greece bilateral cooperation to yield more results
Dialogue with Yang Rui

During his first state visit to Greece, Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 11 called for raising the level of China-Greece relations in all aspects. He also said that both China and Greece support dialogue and mutual learning among civilizations and oppose the fallacy of a "clash of civilizations."

What is China's role in Greek economic recovery? In light of China-Greece bilateral cooperation, how should the "clash of civilizations" theory be evaluated?
We should put this visit in a broad context that the present world is full of uncertainties, said Jin Ling, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies. This visit sends out the message that we're working for multilateralism and open economies. 

During his attendance of the China International Import Expo 2019 held in Shanghai last week, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis delivered a speech at the opening ceremony in which he declared that Greece is emerging from the darkness of a long, painful 10-year economic crisis, and expressed appreciation to China for supporting Greece as it endured this crisis.

Jin said the last decade was really a painful period for Greece. In 2010, the Greek economy experienced a very serious blow from the financial markets, and China's support, especially the pragmatic investment, at that time meant a lot for this country.

A Chinese company, COSCO Shipping, has poured a huge investment into Port of Piraeus in Greece. Observers now regard it as a successful case of bilateral cooperation.

Jin pointed out that China's COSCO entered when Greece's economy was in a very difficult situation and investments from western companies withdrew from this country, which helped a lot in the revival of the Port of Piraeus.

Besides, Jin added that 16 agreements signed between China and Greece, together with a wide range of cooperative areas, including financing, agriculture, aviation, especially education and civilization dialogue, demonstrate to the world that China and Greece with different political systems and histories could have an all-around cooperation that benefits the common people of both countries.

Yannis Koutsomitis, a columnist at the Greek daily Fileleftheros, believes that China needs an entry port for its merchandise accessing the EU single market and the Port of Piraeus is the closest one.


Koutsomitis also stressed that the port is open to everyone. The goods are coming in from not just China but also other markets as well. COSCO is just the operator of the port, instead of the monopoly or oligopoly of Chinese authorities in this port.

China is gaining wisdom from its European partners in order to become more open and market-friendly to the outside world, and Europeans also have much to learn from China's energy and force in promoting international commerce, so everyone has to gain from the cooperation, said Koutsomitis.

When meeting with President Xi, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that Greece firmly opposes the so-called "clash of civilizations," for real civilizations won't clash and conflicts won't solve any problem.

Jin holds that the cooperation between China and Greece, two different civilizations, in various areas shows the world that the "clash of civilizations" theory is nonsense.

She also warned that today's world is highly interconnected and thus needs cooperation and dialogue, "so if we have the mindset of this theory, we can't jump out of the box to seek cooperation to get rid of current crises," she said.

Pieter Cleppe, head of the Brussels office for Open Europe, thinks that there won't be a clash of civilizations. "Civilizations do not clash with each other. Otherwise, they wouldn't be civilized. When there's a clash, it's always between civilization and barbarism," he said.

Dialogue with Yang Rui is a prime time daily English talk show on CGTN. The 30-minute talk show covers a wide range of domestic and international topics, providing a balanced and critical perspective on current affairs and analysis within the framework of cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary comparisons. 

Schedule: Monday-Sunday
Time (GMT): 0330, 1130, 1930

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