|Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L, center) shakes hands with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras during their talks in Athens, Greece, June 19, 2014. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
ATHENS, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras agreed on Thursday to further advance bilateral ties and pragmatic cooperation between their two countries.
China is fully confident about the prospect of Greece's development, Li said when meeting with Samaras, adding that his country stands ready to further consolidate political mutual trust with the European country and lift the comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level.
The Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) project has become a model of Sino-Greek and Sino-European cooperation, Li said, calling for more investment from both sides and vowing to jointly build Piraeus a top port in the Mediterranean.
The Piraeus port, the largest in Greece, is jointly operated by China's state-owned shipping giant COSCO and the Greek port authority under a 35-year lease signed in 2009.
The Chinese premier expressed his hope that Greece will further facilitate bilateral cooperation by improving investment environment, legal protection, visa procedure and project examination.
China will also work with Greece to explore new economic growth points, especially in maritime cooperation, where Li said the two countries should make joint efforts in developing maritime economy, technology and tourism, and hold a successful Sino-Greek maritime cooperation year in 2015.
Calling on both sides to continuously expand bilateral trade and deepen cultural exchanges, the Chinese premier appreciated Greece's efforts as the rotating EU president in pushing forward the China-Europe ties.
Reaffirming China's support for European integration, Li said he hopes Greece will continue to play a unique role in advancing the China-Europe investment agreement talks and jointly opposing protectionism so as to achieve win-win results in China-Europe cooperation.
For his part, Samaras said when Greece was caught in its worst-ever debt crisis, the timely support provided by China brought confidence and strength to the debt-ridden country.
While expressing his willingness to further deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation and cultural exchanges with China in various fields, the Greek prime minister said his country will actively take part in the construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Greece is also ready to work with China to jointly build the Piraeus port, he said, adding that his country welcomes more investments from Chinese enterprises as well as more Chinese tourists.
As the rotating EU president, Greece is willing to push forward the EU-China ties, said Samaras.
Premier Li arrived here Thursday for an official visit, his first trip to Greece since taking office in 2013.