With the Belt and Road Initiative trying to revive the network that once linked the two ancient civilisations
Greece hopes to transform its ancient port of Piraeus into the entry point for an extensive network of roads and railways that will allow China to penetrate into the heart of Europe, its ambassador to Beijing has said.
China’s ambitious push to build a modern-day Silk Road through Asia and Europe has suffered a number of rebuffs in recent weeks after Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal cancelled put on hold a number of major infrastructure projects funded by Chinese investment.
But Greece, a key point along the route of the ancient Silk Road, will once again serve as the hub connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, according to Leonidas C Rokanas.
“Eventually, Piraeus will become the main entry point for Chinese exports to southern, eastern and central Europe,” Rokanas told the South China Morning Post.
“To use a Chinese metaphor, Piraeus will form the “head of the dragon” of the so-called land-sea express route, leading to the heart of Europe through Greece.”
Last year, the Chinese state-owned firm COSCO Shipping completed the acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in Piraeus Port, one of the biggest in Europe.
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For Greece, Rokanas said the deal represents a major boost for its recovery following the debt crisis that started in 2009 and devastated its economy.
The port has opened door for a flurry of Chinese investments totalling US$1.6 billion from companies including mobile giants Huawe and ZTE, the China Machinery Engineering Corporation as well as State Grid, Shenhua Group and Sinovel in the energy sector