Greek scholar calls meeting Xi a lifetime experience

By Yu Shuaishuai, Maria Spiliopoulou, Li Xiaopeng
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 9, 2019
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Meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Greece in 2014 was "a unique experience for life," a Greek scholar has said.

Ahead of Xi's upcoming visit to Greece, Dr. jur. Nikolaos Skourtos, director of the Aegean Institute of the Law of the Sea and Maritime Law, talked to Xinhua recently about welcoming Xi at the institute in 2014 and ongoing efforts to widen and deepen cooperation with Chinese universities.

"It was a great experience," said Skourtos, who remembers vividly the day Xi visited the institute during a stopover visit to the medieval city of Rhodes in July 2014 on his way to Brazil to take part in the 6th BRICS summit.

Then Greek President Karolos Papoulias hosted a welcome banquet and then Prime Minister Antonis Samaras accompanied the Chinese president on his short walk across the old city.

"We didn't expect that President Xi would come to our institute. Never thought that he would show interest in our institute and then that happened," the scholar said.

"I had the opportunity to welcome him to say how proud we were that he was there. I told him that now with his visit we would hope we could start, really start, our cooperation with Chinese academic institutions, universities," he added.

Xi responded very politely that China warmly welcomes such ties, Skourtos recalled.

"I think the president is a wise man. He could listen, I mean, patiently, he listened to me five minutes and more, he answered very politely and very wisely actually. He knew so much about our work, what we are doing in the institute," he noted.

Following the president's visit, Skourtos welcomed a delegation of officials and academics from China's coastal city of Qingdao and signed a memorandum of cooperation with academic institutions of Qingdao as part of efforts to strengthen Sino-Greek cooperation. He also visited China twice for talks at Qingdao and Xiamen, a port city in southern China.

Skourtos said he hopes that in the next few months his institute will start very close cooperation with Shanghai's Law of the Sea Institute as well.

His institute has already welcomed in recent years many Chinese students among hundreds of students from more than 120 countries who participated in summer courses in Rhodes. 

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