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China says closely watching Greek policy after port stake stopped

[BEIJING] China is closely monitoring the policies of the new Greek government after Athens said this week it will stop the sale of a majority stake in Greece's biggest port, China's trade ministry said on Thursday.

The Greek government last year had shortlisted China's Cosco Group as a potential buyer of a 67 per cent stake in Piraeus Port Authority.

But Greece stopped the sale this week, saying it would be put on hold as newly elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras halted privatisation plans agreed under Greece's bailout deal.

"We are paying a great deal of attention," Shen Danyang, the spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce, said when asked about the suspended deal.

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"We urge the Greek government to protect the legitimate interests of Chinese companies in Greece, including those of Cosco," he said.

Greece's reversal of the privatisation deals struck under its bailout has pummelled its financial markets, with Greek bank stocks plunging more than 26 per cent on Wednesday.