Greece still sees China as more of a partner than a rival, ambassador to Beijing says

Greece still sees China as more of a partner than a rival, ambassador to Beijing says

Greece sees China as a partner, the country’s ambassador in Beijing has said, despite the EU’s description of it as a “systemic rival”.

Georgios Iliopoulos, who arrived in China in December, said the European Union does not want to be caught in the crossfire of the spiralling rivalry between China and the US, adding that the world should accept China’s rise and its quest for a bigger role on the world stage.

But the EU has taken an increasingly tough stance towards China and last year included the description of it as a systemic rival in a policy document that also described it as an “economic competitor”.

But Iliopoulos said the EU does not want to be antagonistic to China and that Greece still considers China – which is working with it to develop the port of Piraeus – as a partner.

“We prefer not to focus too much on [the notion of rivalry or competition], and we prefer to focus on the partnership and the cooperation part,” the Greek diplomat told the South China Morning Post.