Chinese President Xi Jinping called for closer cooperation with Greece on Saturday amid strong support provided to the European country in recent years.
President Xi called for the two countries to expand cooperation in the fields of energy, infrastructure, oceanic and telecommunications while meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Beijing. Xi also commended the vigorous cooperation and traditional friendship between the two countries.
The Greek prime minister is in the Chinese capital to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which will take place on May 14 and 15.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China on May 13, 2017. /Reuters Photo
Xi noted that Greece's own development strategy dovetails with the Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese Foreign Ministry website posted a statement quoting Xi as saying: "At present, China and Greece's traditional friendship and cooperation continues to glow with new dynamism."
Greek company Copelouzos said on Friday it had signed a deal with China's Shenhua Group to cooperate in green energy projects and the upgrade of power plants in Greece and other countries.
The deal will involve total investment of three billion euros (3.28 billion US dollars), Copelouzos said in a statement.
Anchored ships are seen at the Piraeus Port, near Athens, Greece on December 8, 2016. /CFP Photo
China's biggest shipping company, COSCO Shipping, bought a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority last year under a plan to turn Greece into a transhipment hub for rapidly growing trade between Asia and Eastern Europe.
Xi said on Saturday the two countries should focus their efforts on turning the Piraeus Port into an important international transhipment hub and key part of the new Silk Road.
China State Grid also agreed last year to buy a 24 percent stake in power grid operator ADMIE for 320 million euros (352 million US dollars).
China's bilateral trade with Greece increased 15.5 percent in 2016 from a year previously, reaching 3.56 billion US dollars. Greece's exports to China increased 43.9 percent last year, while China's exports to Greece increased 12.9 percent.