xi's moments
Home | Op-Ed Contributors

Strong bond

By ZHANG QIYUE | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-03-24 08:49


The sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus has brought severe challenges to China and the world at large, which calls for the international community to unite and help each other to overcome difficulties.

At the critical stage of China's battle against the virus, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent letters to President Xi Jinping, expressing their strong support for the Chinese government and people and their firm confidence in China's victory over the epidemic. President Xi said in his reply that China will continue to cooperate with the international community, including Greece, to safeguard global public health security, and that the friendship between China and Greece will be strengthened after the test of the pandemic.

At the beginning of the outbreak, Greek Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis wrote an article criticizing the "ridiculous scenario" of a few countries discriminating against Chinese because of the virus, and explicitly declaring that "the Chinese are friendly and our friends".

At the foot of the Athen Acropolis, Greeks and local Chinese held red lanterns to pray for China. Vasileios Gkogkas, a Greek doctor working in China, did not hesitate to return from his leave when the outbreak was severe in late January to fight alongside Chinese medical staff in Nanjing. Greek maritime transportation, medical, industrial and commercial sectors also sent letters and calls to China to express their appreciation and support for China's fight against the epidemic, and donated urgently needed masks and other medical materials to China.

Panos Laskaridis, president of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, expressed that "since the outbreak of the epidemic, we have been following the situation of China's fight against the epidemic and are willing to do our part to fight the epidemic with China. The Chinese government and people have made great efforts and sacrifices to prevent the spread of the epidemic, which has won the admiration of the Greek people".

Similarly, now Greece is facing a tense situation of epidemic prevention and control. The Chinese government has provided the Greek government with masks, protective clothing and other important anti-epidemic materials to meet the urgent need of Greece. Many Chinese enterprises and overseas Chinese in Greece have also taken the initiative to launch donation activities such as "Help Greece".

As ancient civilizations, China and Greece fight together against the virus. The Chinese embassy in Greece has been in close communication with the Greek Ministry of Health, Foreign Ministry and other departments to inform them of China's prevention and control efforts. With the increasing pressure of prevention and control in Greece, the Chinese side has provided the Greek health and disease control departments with the latest diagnosis and treatment plan, travel prevention and control guidelines and other technical documents. China also invited government officials and health experts from Greece and other Central and Eastern European countries to hold a video conference to share information on fighting the epidemic and exchange experience in prevention and control.

On March 12, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis met with me and we had in-depth exchanges on China-Greece cooperation in fighting the pandemic. Prime Minister Mitsotakis said: "At present, the Greek epidemic prevention and control efforts are at the critical stage, the Greek government wants to learn from China's experience in fighting the virus to strengthen our own measures. Also, we hope that China and Greece can help and support each other in the prevention and control of the pandemic and achieve a new milestone in the friendship between the two countries."

I told him that China has attached great importance to the international cooperation in response to the outbreak, and is willing to share its experience and wisdom with the world in order to achieve success.

China has always maintained close communication with Greece on prevention and control of the pandemic. China has just provided the latest edition of the diagnosis and treatment plan for COVID-19, guidebooks for epidemic prevention and control, and other technical materials to Greece, and will continue to provide Greece with its support.

On March 21, approximately eight tons of medical supplies consists of 550,000 masks and sets of protective gear, provided by the Chinese government to Greece after Athens' urgent request arrived at Athens International Airport on an Air China flight. Many other aid packages weighing around 10 tons, donated by Chinese enterprises and organizations, arrived on the same flight. The supplies were collected and sent to Greece within eight days, at a time when China is still under immense pressure to contain the epidemic and medical materials are still in short supply.

The Chinese people often say that "a friend in need is a friend indeed". There's a similar version of this saying in Greece. The friendship between China and Greece has not only withstood the test of this outbreak, but also been strengthened by sharing weal and woe. The profound friendship between China and Greece, which has been passed down over thousands of years, is the result of history, the reflection of civilizations and the bond of shared aspirations. It has been transformed into a comprehensive strategic partnership under the call of the present era.

If people are of the same mind, their sharpness can cut through metal. We believe that as long as all countries work together, the pandemic will be defeated and China-Greece relations will embrace an even brighter future.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to Greece. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349