China and Greece 'willing to continue cooperation'

China and Greece 'willing to continue cooperation'
Piraeus port near Athens.

Beijing said on Wednesday that it believes both China and Greece were willing to promote cooperation, following reports saying the new Greek government will halt the sale of a majority stake in the country's biggest port.

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) had expressed an interest in purchasing the stake.

"We noticed related reports and are checking the information with the Greek side," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a regular conference.

But she said that since 2008 COSCO had been managing two cargo piers at Piraeus port, the largest in Greece, and the project has been an outstanding example of cooperation.

"China believes that both governments are willing to continue working together, advance pragmatic cooperation in various sectors to achieve progress, to benefit the countries and their people," said Hua.

Reuters quoted Greek deputy minister in charge of shipping as saying that the new government led by the left-wing Syriza party will halt the sale of a majority stake in Piraeus.

The sale procedure was initiated by the previous government, and binding bids for the stake were expected by the end of the month.

"We will not sell a majority stake in Piraeus port," Thodoris Dritsas told Reuters on Tuesday. "The COSCO deal will be reviewed to the benefit of the Greek people."

Greece had shortlisted the COSCO, and four other suitors as potential buyers of a 67 per cent stake in Piraeus Port Authority last year under its privatization plan agreed with international lenders.

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