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Politics

During COVID Surge, China Reaches Out to Greece for Tourists, Deals

ATHENS – The bodies are piling up so fast in China during a reemergence of COVID-19 that crematoriums can’t keep up with the disposal but China is still hoping to persuade Greeks to come while seeking other deals with Greece.

China’s Ambassador to Greece Xiao Junzheng said cooperation between Greece and China was developing a strong momentum as his country was opening to travelers again, said Greece’s state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency ANA-MPA.

Junzheng referred to its cooperation with Greece in a post-COVID era era which includes joint actions in areas such as tourism, education and trade, the sited noted –  as the pandemic is ongoing in China while waning in Greece.

Referring to travel and China’s decision to ease COVID restrictions, he said “the burden” of pandemic response had now shifted from prevention and control to medical care so that “we maintain a line of defense in protecting health and preventing serious illness.”

He added that, “In order to make the movement of Chinese and foreigners more convenient, safe, orderly and efficient, the Chinese government has specially formulated a temporary plan of measures,” beginning Jan. 8.

Greece’s New Democracy lifted health measures in 2022 in a bid to get tourists, resulting in a near-record said and the government said they wouldn’t be imposed on Chinese visitors despite the risk.

China blasted testing requirements on passengers from China and threatening countermeasures against countries involved based on reciprocity.

“We believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the COVID measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,” she also added.

Junzheng said the operating income of Piraeus port run and majority-owned by Chinese company COSCO is expected to reach 145.8 million euros ($153.65 million,) recording an annual increase of 28.02 percent.

He also referred to a joint action plan for the 2022-2024 period signed earlier this year between the two countries under which Greece and China agreed to work together on enhancing tourist flows, targeted promotional activities, the development of alternative forms of tourism and boosting tourism-related investments, said said GTP Headlines.

Junzheng announced that a new direct flight from Shanghai to Athens was inaugurated on Dec, 22, 2022, the route being operated by Air China to Athens International Airport.

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