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Greece Can Serve as a Bridge Between East and West, Greek President Says Ahead of Chinese Counterpart's Visit

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President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas)

ATHENS- Greece can serve as a bridge between East and West, Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos said on Saturday in an interview to China-based newspaper 'People's Daily' ahead of Sunday's arrival in Greece of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Greece can contribute to the mutual understanding of China and the EU," he added.

Relations between Greece and China have been given a boost by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' recent visit to Shanghai, he said, but have acquired a strategic nature as of 2006.

Referring to China-based Cosco, major shareholder at the Piraeus Port Authority and the container terminal there, Pavlopoulos said that the project stands for the mutually beneficial relationship of the two countries. "On our side, Greece has become a transportation hub for products, while China has acquired access to the markets of the Balkans and the European Union," he said.

The Greek president also noted the role Piraeus plays in China's Belt and Road Initiative to connect all overland and maritime routes in trade and development, and spoke to the People's Daily of the role global economy has in "reducing to the greatest degree possible the distances between countries and peoples, therefore economies as well."

Greeks, he said, understand and appreciate the role of cultural dialogue, and respect the culture of other countries. The two countries, he added, understand the important role culture can play in bridging differences between peoples.

Expressing admiration for the achievements of China in recent years, particularly in reforms and in fighting poverty domestically, Pavlopoulos said the President Xi Jinping is a world leader who has led China to become proud of its achievements. Based on its size and the wealth of its human capital, he said, China has achieved high growth rates and taken global initiatives that place it at the center of current events.