Its importance port of Piraeus in the Mediterranean and in Europe, China’s ambassador to Greece, Xiao Juncheng, highlighted in a press briefing about the 3rd “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation”, which will be held today and tomorrow in Beijing on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the “One Belt, One Road”.

As the Chinese ambassador mentioned, the port of Piraeus “has become the largest multi-purpose port in Mediterranean and the fourth largest multipurpose port in Europe. It has also emerged as one of the fastest growing container ports in the world. Its annual handling capacity has reached a record high of 7.2 million TEUs, ranking 26th worldwide. Piraeus has also created more than 3,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs, directly contributing more than €1.4 billion to the local economy and boosting Greece’s GDP by 0.8%. In addition, the port’s strong cruise growth has effectively promoted the recovery of the Greek tourism sector, offering huge economic benefits to the region. By the end of September, the port of Piraeus has received 750 cruises and 1.2 million tourists. According to the reports of the Athens Stock Exchange, PPA shareholders received a dividend of 1.05 euros per share in 2022,” said the Chinese ambassador.

Continuing in the same vein, he pointed out that the China-Europe Land-Sea Express line starting from the port of Piraeus has reduced transit times by at least 7 to 10 days, becoming a third major channel for China-Europe trade, reaching to Central and Eastern European countries and complements traditional sea routes and the China-Europe Railway Express. In 2022, a total of 181,000 TEUs were transported through this land-sea express line, up 18.4% year-on-year, it noted.

Beyond the port of Piraeus, he praised China-Greece cooperation in green energy projects. Cooperation in this area is thriving, contributing to the improvement of Greece’s energy infrastructure and green growth, he pointed out. In particular, he referred to the Chinese investment in wind farms in Thrace and to its Chinese participation in ADMIE and the electrical interconnection of Crete with Attica. Regarding the first investment, he said it produces enough green energy each year to meet the electricity needs of 30,000 Greek households, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 160,000 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to planting 360,000 trees. each year. Regarding the second investment, he pointed out that since the first phase of the interconnection project became operational, the project has effectively put an end to diesel and heavy oil-based electricity generation on the island, resulting in an annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. coal by about 100,000 tons. He estimated that the project would save residents around 150 to 200 million euros per year in electricity costs.

Cultural exchanges are also an important link in Greek-Chinese relations. Mr. Juncheng assessed that the cooperation in this field is brilliant, making special mention of the Center of Greek and Chinese Ancient Culture which was officially established at the University of Athens in February this year and for which President Xi Jinping sent a reply letter to five Greek scientists. In addition, he mentioned the fourth Confucius Institute inaugurated at the University of West Attica and the scientific cooperation agreement between the Academy of Athens and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. In fact, he announced that several Chinese provinces and cities have already started synergies or are in the process of exploring opportunities for friendly cooperation with their Greek counterparts.

He further spoke about the two-day Forum being held in Beijing under the “One Belt One Road” initiative, which is attended by representatives from more than 140 countries and more than 30 international organizations. “In the face of the challenges of traditional security and non-traditional security, we should remain committed to building a global community of shared future, which emphasizes 5 main features: transparency and integration, equality and justice, harmonious coexistence, diversity and mutual learning, unity and cooperation” he said and expressed the belief that economic globalization and multilateralism are still the dominant force of progress and humanity,” said the Chinese ambassador.

He then outlined the achievements of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative over the past decade. “By the end of June 2023, the Initiative has expanded to five continents and includes 152 partner countries and 32 international organizations, covering more than 65% of the world’s land and population. More than 200 cooperation agreements have been signed to jointly build the Initiative and more than 3,000 projects have been formed. All this has mobilized investments amounting to almost one trillion. USD, lifting around 40 million people out of poverty and creating 420,000 jobs in participating countries. From 2013 to 2022, the total volume of imports and exports between China and the Initiative countries reached 19.1 trillion dollars, with an average annual growth of 6.4%. In 2022, the total volume of imports and exports reached 2.9 trillion. US dollars, accounting for 45.4% of China’s total foreign trade value during the same period, an increase of 6.2% from 2013.”