Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to Greece has historic significance and will upgrade bilateral relations, the Chinese ambassador to Greece said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Hu is scheduled to visit Greece for three days starting from Monday.
"China and Greece are enjoying their best relationship in history. Greek President Papoulias visited China in June and the Chinese president is reciprocating in less than five months. This is unprecedented in the Sino-Greek relations," said Ambassador Luo Linquan.
Luo said both China and Greece suffered earthquakes earlier this year. However, the people of both countries had shown their sympathy and strong support to each other.
The two countries with ancient civilizations hosted the Olympic Games in succession at the beginning of this century, which built a bridge of friendship and brought the two nations closer, the diplomat said.
Luo said the friendly ties between China and Greece had grown stronger and the development of an all-round strategic partnership had gained great momentum.
"The Cultural Year of Greece in China held from September 2007 to August 2008 has been a great success. The two countries also witnessed the opening of Beijing-Athens direct flight, the successful flame igniting ceremony for the Beijing Olympics held in Ancient Olympia and the handover ceremony in Athens," the ambassador said.
In terms of economic cooperation, mutual trade volume in the first nine months of this year reached 3.23 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to exceed a record high of 4 billion dollars for the whole year.
The trade volume between China and Greece reached 3.42 billion dollars in 2007, which is more than 2,000 times of that in 1972 when the two countries established diplomatic relations.
Maritime cooperation is also an important aspect of bilateral ties. 60 percent of China's oil import and export and 50 percent of cargoes were shipped by Greek commercial fleets, according to statistics from the Chinese embassy.
China Ocean Shipping Company, the country's largest commercial fleet, has won a bid to run chartered container operations for 35 years at the largest Greek port of Piraeus.
Luo hoped the shipping companies and business people of the two countries could discuss the possibility of building the port as a logistic center for the Balkan and the Mediterranean region.
The ambassador said both China and Greece have rich cultural and tourism resources, which can provide big potential markets to both countries.