Cyprus is a strategic partner of China’s Silk Road, as it became clear during the meetings between Cyprus President, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades and the Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping, in Beijing last week, leading up to the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. (https://english.cyprustimes.com/cyprus/news/china-considers-cyprus-a-strategic-partner/).
Leaders from 40 foreign governments and 5,000 foreign representatives from 150 countries, were present in Beijing (https://inbusinessnews.reporter.com.cy/business/commerce/article/212097/lawrence-ho-ischyros-katalytis-i-protoboylia-belt-and-road).
President Xi Jinping thanked Mr. Anastasiades for his work for the “Belt and Road” Initiative and stressed how Cyprus maintains the principle of “One China”. He also reiterated the significance of Cyprus’ geographical position at the crossroads of the three continents.
Mr. Jinping proclaimed that China is particularly interested in examining the trilateral partnerships Cyprus maintains in the Eastern Mediterranean, and how they can both extend their partnerships in sectors of renewable energy, telecommunications and culture (https://english.cyprustimes.com/cyprus/news/china-considers-cyprus-a-strategic-partner/).
According to a press release, during the meeting, the excellent political relations between Cyprus and China were reaffirmed, and the prospects to strengthen bilateral relations in various sectors, including trade, investment, finance and tourism, were highlighted (http://www.cna.org.cy/webnews-en.aspx?a=cc02a22b1d9648979bcbb63988c7c5eb).
This is neatly exemplified by the fact that in the framework of bilateral cooperation a Memorandum of Understanding on Education and Cultural Cooperation for the period 2019-2020 and on Cooperation in the Framework of the Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, were signed.
It is important to note that Melco Group Chairman and CEO, Mr. Lawrence Ho, attended the Forum, with Mr. Melis Shiacolas, Managing Director of CNS Group; the parent company of The Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Limited. The two companies form the consortium, owning the City of Dreams Mediterranean, the Integrated Casino Resort, that is currently underway in Limassol.
Mr. Ho, stated that “Melco is fully supportive of the Chinese Central Government’s Belt and Road Initiative, as a strong catalyst to enable businesses to seize international trade development opportunities, not only in the Greater Bay Area, but also in Cyprus, which is strategically located between Europe, Asia and Africa and is primed to play a major role in the on-going Belt and Road Initiative” (https://in-cyprus.com/melco-ceo-lawrence-ho-attends-2nd-belt-and-road-forum-for-international-cooperation-in-beijing/).
The Government Spokesman of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Prodromos Prodromou, stressed the commitment of Cyprus to the Belt and Road Initiative. He stated that “we see that through multilateral partnerships and upgraded connectivity, in the era of globalization, there are advantages for our country and the prosperity of our people” (https://www.voiceoftheisland.com/en/anastasiades-travels-to-china-for-second-belt-and-road-forum.html).
Mr. Prodromou further added that Cyprus has always been a trade hub and has had an important position in international connectivity and is part of the international energy map. With this in mind, Cyprus is interested in advancing its position and promote its advantages as an EU member state, and to be part of this upgraded relationship between Europe and Asia, that was initiated by the Chinese government.
China also intends to create a Cultural Centre in Cyprus, highlighting its wish to deepen its relations with Cyprus in all sectors and how China perceives Cyprus as a reliable and good friend.
On a final note, Mr. Anastasiades further assured his Chinese counterpart that Cyprus is one of China’s best ambassadors in the EU in developing its relations with the European Union (https://english.cyprustimes.com/cyprus/news/china-considers-cyprus-a-strategic-partner/).