By Penelope Galliou

The Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is going to China today, where in Beijing he will have summit contacts and meetings tomorrow, with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang and National People’s Congress Chairman Zhao Leji. The Greek government’s strategic choice is to broaden the perspectives of cooperation with Asian superpowers while it is being carried out in a period in which geopolitical instability exists and radical rearrangements are taking place in the global geopolitical and economic situation.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ trip to the Chinese capital will provide an opportunity to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation, as well as issues of regional and international interest, with a focus on developments in the Middle East and the latest developments in Ukraine. The visit takes on additional significance as China is a member of it UN Security Council and can play an important role in regional and international security issues and in maintaining international peace and stability.

Indeed, the new flare-up in the Middle East and the turmoil it causes in the international community do not leave Beijing unaffected either, which treats the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean as a commercial and transactional bridge to Europe. And for Greece, however, this particular juncture has additional value as the Greek government aspires to assume a role – a bridge between Asia and Europe in an irregular period.

At the same time, the Greek side seeks to strengthen bilateral trade relations and increase Greek exports to China, particularly in the agricultural and standardized products sectors. The Greek plan also includes the further strengthening of relations between the two countries in tourism, as the China is a large market.

According to government sources, the visit of the Greek Prime Minister to China has a political and diplomatic character as he is not expected to be accompanied by any business group, but it also has significant economic importance as it takes place after the upgrade of the Greek economy to investment grade by S&P, while two of the largest Chinese rating agencies, Lianhe Credit and Chengxin Rating Group, recently upgraded our country’s credit rating to investment grade.

According to information, Kyriakos Mitsotakis during the summit contacts he will have in the Chinese capital, he is expected to reiterate Greece’s position on the need for open channels of communication with China and cooperation to address global challenges, such as climate change, so that relations are constructive and mutually beneficial.

Government sources note, however, the already good relations that our country maintains with China, while due to cultural ties and geopolitical position, it can act as a bridge between the E.U. and China for a more balanced relationship. As the Prime Minister recently said, China is a competitor and this is the position of the European Union, as in the context of the economic security of the EU. and addressing global geopolitical challenges, the reduction of risk (de-risking) in relations with China and the reduction of dependence on critical raw materials is promoted. At the same time, the trade deficit of the E.U. against China it reaches 400 billion euros.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be accompanied on his trip by the Minister of Transport Christos Staikouras and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for Economic Extraversion Costas Fragogiannis. The two ministers will then visit Shanghai, where they will represent the Prime Minister at the CIIE Exhibition, (China International Import Expo), where there will be a Greek stand in which 20 Greek companies will participate. A visit that the Prime Minister was also going to make, who will complete their contacts after the meetings with the political leadership of the country.