Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (3rd L), Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli (2nd L) cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony of the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in Thessaloniki, Greece on Sept. 9, 2017. China is an honored country this year in TIF, which is Greece's largest and most prestigious annual trade fair. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday extended congratulations on the opening of Greece's largest annual trade fair in the northern port city of Thessaloniki with China as the guest of honor.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attended the opening ceremony of the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and toured the Chinese pavilion.
The Chinese exhibition area covers nearly 6,000 square meters, with the participation of more than 100 Chinese brand enterprises from such sectors as transportation, telecommunications, energy, intelligent manufacturing and environmental protection.
In his congratulatory message, Li recalled that China was the first country as the guest of honor participating in the TIF in 1998.
"It was a new bridge for China-Europe economic and trade exchanges, which not only bore historic significance for the TIF's development, but also ushered in a new stage of China-Europe and China-Greece ties," said Li.
The Chinese premier praised the fruitful results of bilateral cooperation in the past 19 years, and stressed that China's participation as the guest country in the 82nd TIF marked a new starting point for China-Greece relations on a higher level with broad prospects.
Li said the Chinese government is willing to work with Greece and other countries to better synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with their respective development strategies to create broader common interests and carry out win-win cooperation at a deeper level, so as to better serve their peoples, promote the continued recovery of the global economy and achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
In his speech on Saturday, Tsipras applauded Greece-China cooperation and expressed confidence in the further deepening of bilateral ties.
The Greek leader cut the ribbon at the Chinese pavilion during a ceremony which was broadcast on Greek national broadcaster ERT, welcoming China's role as the guest of honor at the TIF as "a landmark in bilateral relations, which have become stronger in recent years and have great prospects for the future."
Addressing the event, he praised China's Belt and Road Initiative, reiterated Greece's strong support and underlined the key role Chinese investments hold in Greece's efforts to overcome its debt crisis and restore growth.
The TIF has been the largest trade fair in Greece in terms of the number of participants and visitors in the past decade, according to the Greek organizers.
Until the TIF closes on Sept. 17, some 250,000 visitors from 17 countries are expected to browse the booths of 1,500 exhibitors.