Li Keqiang

Li Keqiang, born in 1955, became China's premier in March 2013. Like ex-president Hu Jintao, his power base lies with the Communist Youth League, where he was a member of the secretariat of the league’s central committee in the 1980s and later in the 1990s the secretariat’s first secretary. His regional governance experience includes a period as vice party boss, governor and party boss of Henan province between 1998 and 2003 and party boss of Liaoning province beginning in 2004. He became vice premier in 2008. Li graduated from Peking University with a degree in economics. 

NewsChina
DIPLOMACY

Greece welcomes Li Keqiang visit in effort to aid economic recovery

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 3:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 12:26pm
 

Greece rolls out the red carpet today for Premier Li Keqiang as the cash-strapped euro-zone nation looks for Chinese investment to put wind in the sails of its recovery.

Li's visit comes just a month after his Greek counterpart, Antonis Samaras, travelled to China to tout his troubled but improving economy as an attractive entry point for Chinese investment into the European Union.

With Greece now on the path to recovery, Li's two-day official visit to Athens marks Beijing's renewed interest in investment prospects up for grabs.

Watch: Greece, China sign $4.6 bn in deals as Chinese premier visits

Chief among them is a 67 per cent stake in the Piraeus port authority, the largest in the country. Chinese transportation giant Cosco, which already has a major foothold after having won in 2008 a 35-year concession to expand the two main container terminals at the port, is a favourite.

"This is the first time for a Chinese company to obtain a long-term concession for a European port," Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao said ahead of the visit, referring to the 2008 deal. "So, it is very significant. Over the past four years, the operation of this port has been very good. And it has made good contributions to promoting the local economy and increasing employment."

The first visit to Greece by a senior Chinese official in four years will see the signing of a joint declaration, a set of government-to-government agreements and a number of business contracts. The Greek government said Li was also scheduled to travel to Crete, where the Tymbaki port and the airport of Kasteli have been cited as potential investment targets for China.

The last visit by a top Chinese official - then premier Wen Jiabao - was in 2010, at the start of Greece's economic crisis.

The selection of Cosco in 2008 to expand the container terminals at Piraeus made waves, but subsequent efforts by the Greek state to secure Chinese investment had little success.

But now with the spectre of Greece going bankrupt receding, Chinese investors have begun to show renewed interest.

Share

 

Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive