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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Highlights of Minister for Foreign Affairs G. Katrougalos’ interview to the Chinese news agency “XinHua” (24.04.2019)

In light of his participation in the Greek mission headed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the second Forum of the "Belt and Road Initiative" in Beijing, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Katrougalos, granted an interview to the electronic edition of XinHua news agency, and to journalists Yu Shuaishuai, Maria Spiliopoulou, and Li Xiaopeng. The Minister for Foreign Affairs reminded that China was the first country he visited in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs, a fact which is perhaps due to the better level of bilateral relations that the two countries have enjoyed in recent years, as well as the full alignment of their economic interests. Building upon the friendship, the mutual respect which characterises the bilateral relations, and the already developed strategic partnership between Greece and China, the Minister for Foreign Affairs declared that, together with his interlocutors in China, he will look into ways of further promoting the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. Referring specifically to the presence of COSCO Shipping in Piraeus, Mr Katrougalos stressed that it pertains to particularly successful investment, which has assigned to Piraeus a large portion of the trade carried out through the Mediterranean. The additional investments of COSCO in the expansion of the port’s infrastructure, added the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will contribute to the common effort by the two countries for further strengthening of the commercial role of the port of Piraeus. At this point, Mr Katrougalos stressed that the investment in question is successful not only on economic terms but it also has a social nature, as it aided the local community over the course of the 10-year economic crisis. With regard to the Chinese Belt Road Initiative, the Minister for Foreign Affairs stressed that it represents a prime example of how two countries ought to face the common future of all countries with regard to economic prosperity. Greece wants to exploit its strategic advantage as a bridge between Asia, Africa, and Europe, and for the Chinese initiative to be linked to the corresponding interconnectivity of the European Union in order for the country to be transformed, through infrastructure works which will link Piraeus with Central Europe, into a centre for transports and logistical support, as well as a port of entry for Chinese goods into Europe. Greece’s role, stressed the Minister for Foreign Affairs, is to act as a bridge between Europe, to which it belongs, and China, highlighting their common points which include a commitment to multilateralism in international relations, peaceful relations, and respect of International Law.