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Chinese, Greek leaders hold talks, agree to lift bilateral strategic ties to higher level
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08:13, November 25, 2008

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Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias agreed on Monday to lift the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height.

During his talks with Papoulias, Hu first thanked Greece for its support for the Beijing Olympic Games and the Paralympics. The Greek side also rendered support for Beijing in the torch lighting and relay, he added.

Sino-Greek relations now stand on a new historical starting point and are faced with broader prospects, the Chinese president said.

In recent years, China and Greece have seen rapid growth in two-way trade and bilateral cooperation in sea transportation has entered a new era, he added.

In 2007, their two-way trade stood at 3.4 billion U.S. dollars, and in the first seven months of this year it reached 2.4 billion dollars.

China is willing to import more Greek commodities that cater to its market and will encourage competent Chinese enterprises to invest in Greece, Hu said.

China will also seize opportunities to work together with the Greek side in harbor and port construction to enhance bilateral cooperation in sea transportation, he added.

China will also promote bilateral cooperation in energy, environmental protection and tourism, Hu said.

To further bilateral ties, Hu called for efforts to enhance political mutual trust, maintain high-level contacts and expand non-governmental exchanges.

The Chinese leader expressed hope that Greece will continue to play an active role in advancing China-Europe ties in the framework of the European Union.

Hu suggested that the two sides expand culture exchanges to deepen the friendship between the two peoples.

The two countries, both boasting long ancient civilizations, should draw on the useful experiences of "the Year of Greek Culture" and their cooperation during the Beijing Olympiad and carry out cultural exchanges of various forms by making good use of their rich cultural resources.

On multilateral cooperation, Hu said that China is ready to enhance communication and coordination with Greece within multilateral organizations such as the United Nations on major international issues including climate change, environmental protection, sustained development and hotspot areas.

Papoulias said he was pleased to see that Athens and Beijing hosted the two first Olympiads in the new century.

It's "encouraging" that China will continue to take measures to achieve trade balance with Greece, he said.

During the talks, Hu also briefed Papoulias on the G20 summit on financial markets and the world economy held in Washington and measures adopted by the Chinese government to boost domestic demand.

Papoulias said that Greece has always followed closely China's development and its role in the international arena.

China's stance expounded by Hu at the G20 summit showed "China's willingness to tackle the financial crisis along with the international community," he said.

Papoulias briefed Hu on the situation in the West Balkan region.

Hu said he hoped countries in the region will, from the long-term interest of their national development, address issues left by history through patient dialogues and build a West Balkan region of lasting stability, prosperity and development.

Greece is the last leg of President Hu's five-nation trip. Earlier, he had attended the G20 summit on financial markets and the world economy in Washington and paid state visits to Costa Rica, Cuba and Peru, where he also attended the Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Source: Xinhua

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