BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday that it was confident Greece’s talks with creditors to avoid defaulting on its debt would go positively, in comments made ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Europe next week.
Having failed to clinch a deal with its international creditors a day earlier, Greece is gearing up for a last-ditch effort on Saturday to avert as default, with a repayment to the International Monetary Fund falling due next week..
“We have full confidence in how that will progress,” Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao said at a news conference. “China would like to see Greece remain in the euro zone and appreciates the relevant parties’ efforts in this regard.
"We believe that the euro zone can, via the efforts of all parties, appropriately deal with the situation.”
Li leaves for Europe next week on a trip that will include a China-EU summit in Brussels and a visit to France.
China sees Greece’s strategic location as a portal into both Europe and Africa for the distribution of Chinese products but has so far shown little interest in getting involved in financial help for Greece this year.
On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment when asked whether Beijing would offer Greece emergency loans or buy assets in the event of a default. Last year, China signalled that it would buy bonds when Greece issues debt again.
In February, Li urged Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to ensure protection of the rights of China’s companies and backing for a port project.
China’s Cosco [COSCO.UL] manages two of the Piraeus port’s cargo piers. Under a privatisation scheme last year, it had been shortlisted, along with four other suitors, as a potential buyer of a stake of 67 percent in the port.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)