Chinese, Greek FM Discuss Economic Ties10/27 06:09
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Greek
officials Wednesday during a visit to Athens expected to focus on furthering
Chinese investments in Greece.
Greece recently emerged from a brutal decade-long financial crisis that
wiped out a quarter of its economy and has been eager to attract international
China, which is constructing ports, railways and other infrastructure in
dozens of countries around the world under its Belt and Road Initiative, is
already heavily involved in Greece. The Chinese company Cosco Shipping now owns
67% of Greece's Piraeus Port Authority, one of the largest ports in Europe,
after Greek lawmakers ratified the sale of a 16% stake in the company on top of
the 51% Cosco already held.
Wang met Wednesday with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and then
with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Mitsotakis' office said the meeting
examined "the prospects of further developing the Greek-Chinese economic and
investment plans" following the ratification of the Piraeus stake sale.
As part of the sale, Greece granted a five-year extension to the investments
Cosco had undertaken as part of its original purchase of a majority stake in
"We look forward to new investment projects in the largest port of the
Mediterranean, one of the largest in the world," Dendias said after his meeting
"We have repeatedly said Greece can be a gateway from Asia into Europe, an
energy hub," Dendias said, noting the two had discussed deepening economic
relations between the countries, as well as increasing cultural and tourism
Wang described China's involvement in Piraeus as an "emblematic" project as
part of the Belt and Road Initiative and a model for mutually beneficial
Labor unions, however, have criticized the working conditions at the
shipping terminal, saying profits are put above safety, jeopardizing employees'
welfare. A worker died this week in an accident at the Cosco-run container
terminal in Piraeus.
Greece's opposition Syriza party slammed conditions at the port, saying such
labor accidents were caused by "the constant exhausting rates of work (at the
container terminal) which cause long-term exhaustion and work-related
Cosco acquired the 51% stake in the port of Piraeus in 2016, under a