Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos expressed his high expectations for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to Greece to further enhance China-Greek ties and China-EU relations at an exclusive interview in Athens.

At the invitation of Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Xi is slated to pay a state visit to Greece from Sunday to Tuesday. The visit is expected to further enhance China-Greece ties and inject fresh impetus into the development of China-EU relations and implementation of the China-proposed initiative on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (Belt & Road Initiative).

President Pavlopoulos paid a state visit to China in May when he delivered a speech at the Conference on Dialog of Asian Civilizations. He said both the conference and Xi’s proposal of the Belt & Road Initiative left him a deep impression.

“I think that this initiative put forward by my friend President Xi Jinping is truly a great initiative for the world. Through this initiative and the dialog, obviously, not only is there no cultural conflict, but also a real civilization has been created. This real civilization comes from exchanges and learning from each other. And through these dialogs, and through the bridges we create via civilizations, we can seek to safeguard peace, and social justice for mankind,” said Pavlopoulos.

Greece was the first developed country in the west to sign the memorandums of understanding of the Belt & Road Initiative

As the country is at the junction of the maritime and the land Silk Roads, Greece is a natural partner in the construction of the Initiative.

“The Greek people are ready to work with the Chinese people. Personally speaking, wherever I go, no matter inside or outside Europe, we are all firm in backing China’s Belt & Road Initiative because it is not only an economic initiative, but also it allows us to realize other objectives through economic and trade cooperation, especially peaceful development,” said Pavlopoulos.

He pointed out that China-Greek relations are currently at their best and are still moving ahead rapidly with vigour. He has high expectations for President Xi’s visit.

“As for the upcoming talks with the Chinese side, I think it is a very good opportunity for consultations between nations, especially these consultations will involve not only the bilateral relations between Greece and China but also relations between China and the European Union. Greece has always regarded China as an ally of Europe at the economic level and we stand for closer ties between China and the European Union,” said Pavlopoulos.