NICOSIA — China’s foreign minister says his country is interested in operating Cypriot ports and to help turn the small east Mediterranean island nation into a regional shipping hub.
Wang Yi also said after talks Monday with his Cypriot counterpart that China is looking to develop industrial zones around the ports. He also pledged support for talks aimed at reunifying ethnically divided Cyprus, saying his country welcomes progress made in negotiations so far.
Cyprus issued tenders earlier this year for a new operator to manage its largest port in the town of Limassol as a container hub, a cruise liner port of call or to offer sea services.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said he conveyed his government’s “great wish” that Chinese companies succeed in the tender.
Kasoulides pointed to the “successful participation” of China’s Cosco in Greece’s main port of Piraeus, where it has a concession to operate two of three container terminals.
Wang Yi said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Monday that China would continue to play a constructive role in supporting the reunification talks.
Wang’s visit follows recent trips to Cyprus by his counterparts from the U.S., Russia and Britain as peace talks gather pace.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup aiming at union with Greece.
Cyprus wants the United Nations Security Council to ensure the adoption of any peace accord and to oversee its implementation.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said “there’s understanding” from China on this, but that Security Council members will determine the body’s post-solution role after consultations.