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Ambassador Zou Xiaoli's Speech at the Conference "The New Silk Road: One Belt, One Road (OBOR) and Greece"
2016-04-01

On March 30, Chinese Ambassador Zou Xiaoli attended the Conference "The New Silk Road of China: One Belt, One Road (OBOR) and Greece" jointly held by five prestigious research institutes and universities including the Institute of International Economic Relations, the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, the Institute of International Relations, the Department of Political Science and International Relations(University of Peloponnese), and the Department of Mediterranean Studies(University of the Aegean). Over 100 people attended the conference including officials of the Greek Foreign Ministry in charge of portfolios of economic cooperation in Northeast Asia and economic cooperation in the Middle East, foreign diplomats in Greece, as well as representatives of Greek business associations, scholars and journalists.

In his address, Ambassador Zou pointed out that at the beginning of April COSCO and TAIPED,the privatization fund of Greece, were going to sign the agreements on the purchase of 67% majority stake of PPA, So the timing was optimal for in-depth discussions about "the New Silk Road and Greece". The COSCO Piraeus project, a key link of the "Belt and Road", has best showcased the five pillars of the Initiative, namely policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds.

Ambassador Zou stressed that the COSCO Piraeus project has enjoyed great care and support from leaders of both countries. It is a consensus of the two sides that the project conforms to the fundamental interests of China, Greece and the region. Going forward, the two sides should make the best use of high-level visits to strengthen communication and coordination on development planning and relevant policies of the two countries from a medium and long-term perspective on the basis of the COSCO Piraeus project. The Piraeus Port, together with the Hungary-Serbia Railway, will constitute the European part of the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Route, which will further optimize the transportation facilities of land, sea and air and consolidate the position of Greece as a transportation hub in the east Mediterranean. The Express Route, with the Port of Piraeus at its hub, will also link the new Maritime Silk Road with the Silk Road on land and strongly boost economic and trade cooperation among China, Russia, Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa, and Southeast Asia. Countries along the "Road and Belt" can well become a new driving force for world economic growth in the coming decades. The real significance of the COSCO project is highlighted by the opportunity it offers to Greece to return to the international capital market, which is vitally important for Greece to walk out of the crisis and realize revitalization. The COSCO Piraeus project is an extraordinary proof of the traditional friendship between the two peoples. It will also serve as a catalyst to further boost mutual understanding, mutual trust and win-win cooperation between our two countries. In China there is an increasing trend to learn about Greece, to come to Greece, and to collaborate with Greece. China-Greece relations are also flourishing in the fields of tourism, culture, education, science and technology, press and media, and academic studies. Today's conference is a good case in point.

Ambassador Zou pointed out that the biggest contribution that China can make to the world is to manage its own affairs well and use its development to promote the development of the world. The "Belt and Road" Initiative is a great blueprint for China's development. It is also a Chinese solution to the common development of the whole world. The COSCO Piraeus project has once again placed Greece at an important knot of the Silk Road, which provides a once-in-a-thousand-year opportunity for China and Greece, the two ancient and great nations, to join hands in promoting the progress of human civilizations. I hope and believe that we will succeed in building the COSCO Piraeus project into a shining example of the "Belt and Road" Initiative and bring benefit to our two countries and the world at large.

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