China & Greece Partner For Joint Military Drills as ‘Grexit’ Looms

China’s Navy arrived in Greece on Monday amid concerns that the country is considering an exit from the European Union.

The 18th Chinese naval fleet arrived in Piraeus, Greece on Monday to commence a four-day visit of the country. The Chinese navy was welcomed by Greek Rear Admiral George Leventis who, along with other official state representatives, held a welcoming parade for the Chinese sailors, China’s state-run Xinhua reports.

During the fleet’s visit, Chinese Rear Admiral Zhang Chuanshu will meet Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

The 18th fleet had previously visited the U.K., Germany, Netherlands, and France before being received in Greece. The two countries will reportedly hold joint military exercises before the Chinese fleet departs for its homeland.

European Union leaders have reportedly given Greece an ultimatum. They told Athens that they have until Friday to continue the structure of a previously agreed upon bailout program. Otherwise, their funding for the bailout may be pulled should Athens not comply.

Greece’s bailout funding is set to expire at the end of February, creating concerns that the EU is entering an unknown area if Greece becomes the first member of the Euro currency to leave the group.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis remained defiant, telling reporters that he would not consider seriously such an ultimatum. “In the history of the European Union, nothing good has ever come out of ultimatums. I have no doubt that in the next few days any notion of an ultimatum is going to be withdrawn,” he said.

The EU’s concerns over Athens’s monetary situation became exponentially more prevalent following its election of the far-left Syriza coalition, which has pledged to fight austerity measures.


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