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Ties with China enjoying good momentum: Greek FM spokesman
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13:00, November 12, 2008

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The friendly ties between China and Greece have grown stronger over the past five years and the development of an all-round strategic partnership has gained great momentum, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos told Xinhua.

Relations between the two countries, which established diplomatic ties 36 years ago, have experienced rapid development since the signing of an agreement to build an all-round strategic partnership during Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit to China in 2006, Koumoutsakos told Xinhua in an interview prior to Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Greece later this month.

The Olympic Games also provided a great opportunity for cooperation between China and Greece, which hosted the games in succession. The two countries availed of the chance to strengthen cooperation in all fields, especially with respect to trade, culture, tourism and shipping, the spokesman said.

The two nations have also closely supported each other in the international arena, and have exchanged frequent high-level visits, taking bilateral relations to a new height.

The development of bilateral relations, especially in the fields of economy and culture, has been stunning, said Koumoutsakos.

The "Cultural Year of Greece in China," held from September 2007 to August 2008, has been a great success. Greek language and literature are now being taught at Beijing's universities, while more and more Greeks are thinking about learning Chinese, he pointed out.

On the economic front, mutual trade volume in the first quarter this year reached 1.039 billion U.S. dollars, rising 66 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Economic and Commercial Counselor's Office of the Chinese Embassy in Athens.

The upcoming visit of President Hu to Greece comes within five months of Greek President Karolos Papoulias' visit to China, which is another testimony of the swift and dynamic development of bilateral ties, Koumoutsakos noted.

"The development of ties between Greece and China is so dynamic, which is not often seen, as I know as a diplomat how difficult it is for countries to build such close and healthy relations," he said.

Koumoutsakos reiterated that Greece will continue to adhere to the one-China principle and thanked China for its understanding and support on Cyprus and other issues.

The Greek government and people are looking forward to President Hu's visit, during which the Greek leaders would exchange views with him on bilateral relations, the current financial crisis and other international issues of common concern, he said.

He expressed hope that Hu's visit would further promote the sound and balanced development of Sino-Greek relations.

Source: Xinhua

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