PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – After renewing a military cooperation deal with United States and declaring relations have never been better, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has backed China’s claims of sovereignty after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.
There was no direct mention of that when Dendias met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 55th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ gathering in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said Kathimerini.
That came after Dendias, representing the New Democracy conservative government, visited Vietnam and said that a bust of the late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, who led the defeat of the US in the Vietnam War, would be erected in the northern Greek city of Edessa in his honor.
In return, China backed Greece’s claims to the Aegean that are being challenged by Turkey, which said this month it will send energy research vessels off Greek islands and claims waters it said were disputed.
Dendias’ support for China during a tense time, said Kathimerini, was seen as backing the One China policy which stipulates there is only one Chinese government, which the US accepts.
It wasn’t all harmony between Greece and China though even though China wants further investments in Greece where the Chinese management company COSCO operates the port of Piraeus and turned around its fortunes.
Greece and China don’t agree on on how to implement the international law of the sea, another divisive issue.
“I had the opportunity to receive reassurance of support for Greece’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and sovereign rights in the face of the provocations it faces. A position fully compatible with international law, considering that China is a permanent member of the Security Council,” said Dendias.
“I had the opportunity to reiterate the Greek position in favor of the ‘One China’ policy, a position that is also the European position on this issue,” Dendias said although the European Union is worried about growing Chinese influence in the bloc through business interests.