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Host of world leaders to join Xi at Games

By MO JINGXI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-29 06:45
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Children perform with Bing Dwen Dwen, mascot of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, during a rehearsal of the Games' opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Beijing on Jan 22, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Major foreign guests show confidence in China holding successful event

President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics together with more than 30 foreign heads of state, heads of government, members of royal families and heads of international organizations, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Friday.

As the first comprehensive global sporting event to be held as scheduled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Beijing Winter Olympics will open on Friday. Hua said that Xi will hold a welcoming banquet for the foreign guests and have related bilateral activities with them from Friday to Feb 6.

According to Hua, the foreign dignitaries include President Vladimir Putin of Russia, King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The get-together in Beijing of the foreign dignitaries next week demonstrates their support for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the Olympic Movement and approval for China's achievements in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, observers said.

"It shows that they are full of confidence and expectations for a successful Games to be hosted by China," said Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, adding that it also demonstrates approval of China's global influence.

For some countries, it will be the first time that they will send delegations to a Winter Olympics.

Zha Daojiong, a professor at the School of International Studies of Peking University, said the participation by world leaders, regardless of the medal count of their own athletes, shows support for sportsmanship, which in turn is a shared value throughout human history.

"The Olympic Games have been serving as a platform for countries that seek cooperation by leaving aside differences throughout history. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, it is indeed a breath of fresh air that so many countries appreciate the resilience of the Olympic Movement," he added.

Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said that the Games will help boost the confidence of the international community amid the current world situation by providing a stage that exhibits solidarity, cooperation and peace during sports competitions.

"Such a spirit is also needed by today's world in order to address existing problems," he said.

Experts said that the splendid Games are expected to crush any malicious attempt by a handful of countries to disturb and sabotage the Beijing Winter Olympics.

"The noise of these countries will at last be overwhelmed by the support from the vast majority of countries in the world," said Li from China Foreign Affairs University.

In another development, Vice-Premier Han Zheng has stressed all-out efforts for the final phase of preparatory work for the Games in order to present to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic event.

Han, who is also head of a leading group overseeing the Beijing 2022 preparations, made the remark after inspecting the Beijing organizing committee for the Games on Thursday.

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