President Xi Jinping called for dialogues between civilizations to promote inclusiveness, mutual learning and harmonious coexistence among countries, underlining the need for China and Greece to strengthen cooperation on heritage protection.
Xi made the remark on Tuesday when visiting the Acropolis Museum in Athens before concluding his state visit to the European country and leaving for Brasilia, capital of Brazil, to attend the 11th BRICS Summit.
Accompanied by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and his wife, Vlassia Pavlopoulou-Peltsemi, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, visited the museum, which sits at the foot of the Acropolis and houses masterpieces of sculpture from Greek antiquity.
Xi said the tour left a beautiful and memorable impression on him. He said it also deepened his understanding of ancient Greece, giving him a further understanding of how China and Greece, as two ancient civilizations, have much in common.
Xi said the works of ancient Greek architects and sculptors are treasures and outstanding representatives of Western civilization. Although China's artistic expression is different from its Greek counterparts, he said, China, as a representative of Eastern civilization, has had many artistic achievements that have had a profound influence on later generations.
China and Greece, which both have robust cultural heritages, can strengthen cooperation in the preservation and restoration of important historical and cultural icons, he said.
Due to historical reasons, many precious cultural relics of both countries are still lost abroad, Xi said, calling on the two countries to enhance cooperation to bring them back home.
Xi thanked the Greek presidential couple for their hospitality, and said both countries have used the visit to review the past, learn from it and look toward the future. They also have decided to work more closely with each other to open up a better future.
Pavlopoulos said Xi's visit has opened up a new chapter in Greece-China relations, adding that he and Xi have had in-depth and cordial conversations.
He said both Greece and China represent profound civilizations and their ancient, splendid and great civilizations have linked the two peoples closely together.
He thanked Xi on behalf of the Greek people for understanding and respecting Greek civilization and for seeing Greece as a bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations.
Greece holds great respect for Chinese civilization, admires China's achievements in modernization and appreciates the noble moral standards upheld by China on the international stage, Pavlopoulos said.
If all countries uphold these standards, the road ahead of mankind will become broader and broader, he added.
Pavlopoulos called on Greece and China to strengthen communication and cooperation for world peace and a brighter future for mankind.
The Acropolis Museum, lying over the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens, is focused on the findings of the archaeological site that gives it its name. With a total area of 25,000 square meters, it houses artifacts found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. The museum has collaborated with Chinese museums on multiple occasions.