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Xi addresses banquet ahead of Asian Games

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping extended a warm welcome to international dignitaries attending the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games at a welcoming banquet on Saturday noon in Hangzhou, East China’s Province of Zhejiang Province.

China will deliver a great event that is distinctly Chinese, uniquely Asian and spectacular. The cauldron for the Asian Games will be lit again in China on the Autumn Equinox, a day symbolizing harvest and reunion in Chinese culture.

China has fulfilled its promise and spared no efforts in advancing the preparation for the 19th Asian Games, President Xi Jinping said Saturday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

As proven in Xi’s important remarks, the Asian Games that is set to stage a magnificent opening ceremony on Saturday night, will not only be a grand sports event but also is an important diplomatic venue for China to convey its friendly and firm message to the world and add impetus to the global peace and stability, Chinese analysts noted.

As of press time, Xi has met with visiting foreign leaders including King of Cambodia Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao of Timor-Leste on Saturday and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Friday.

Xi underscored that the Asian Games carries Asian people’s aspirations for peace, solidarity and inclusiveness, while calling for efforts to promote peace through sports and transform Asia into an anchor for world peace.

Asian countries should adhere to good neighborliness and mutual benefit, and reject a Cold War mentality and camp-based confrontation, Xi stressed.

As members of a community with a shared future, Asian countries should adhere to good neighborliness and mutual benefit, reject a Cold War mentality and camp-based confrontation, and make Asia an anchor for world peace, Xi said when addressing the banquet.

Asia has maintained overall stability and rapid and sustained economic growth over recent decades. The Asian Games has been a witness, participant and contributor of this Asian Miracle, Xi said.

Looking around the world, Asia is no doubt the most vibrant, most prosperous and most stable region globally, which brings about hopes to the globe.

Asia has set the benchmark and example for world peace and inclusiveness, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Although the US is not named, Asia countries should remain vigilant against external forces represented by the US and its alliance thinking and practice of extreme confrontation, as they would create tremendous crisis in Asia and jeopardize the regional stability as proven in Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan as well as in Ukraine, Chinese analysts warned.

The 19th Asian Games is set to mark new records for participation and the number of events, which demonstrates Asian people’s great anticipation and firm support for the Games, Xi said.

The Hangzhou Asian Games is by far the largest, and has the most events and broadest coverage in history, Chen Weiqiang, Executive Secretary of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) and the main spokesperson for the Games, said during Friday’s news conference.

Around 12,500 athletes from 45 countries and regions are taking part in the Hangzhou Asiad, a record high in Asian Games history.

As humanity is faced with unprecedented global challenges, the Asian people must seize historic opportunities and work together to tackle these challenges. Xi called for promoting peace, solidarity and inclusiveness through sports.

On solidarity, Xi said as humanity is faced with unprecedented global challenges, the Asian people must seize historic opportunities and work together to tackle these challenges so that Asia can embark on a broader path of common development, openness and integration.

On inclusiveness, Xi said the Asian Games, with many unique sporting events of Asia, offers a stage where sports and cultures enrich each other, and vividly shows how Asian cultures learn from one another.

He stressed the efforts to promote inclusiveness through sports, enhance confidence in Asian civilizations, uphold communication and mutual learning, and add new glory to Asian civilizations.

Xi wished guests have an unforgettable time in Zhejiang Province and a fond memories during the Games.

Full text of President Xi’s Address:

Remarks by H.E. Xi Jinping

President of the People’s Republic of China

At the Welcoming Banquet of the Opening Ceremony

Of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou

Hangzhou, September 23, 2023

Distinguished Colleagues,

Distinguished OCA Acting President Raja Randhir Singh,

Distinguished IOC President Thomas Bach,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

I am delighted to join so many old and new friends by the beautiful West Lake celebrating the opening of the 19th Asian Games. At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, and in the name of my wife and myself, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our distinguished guests!

Today is the Autumn Equinox, known as Qiufen on the Chinese lunar calendar. On this day of harvest and reunion, the cauldron of the Asian Games will light up again in China. Since being honored with the right to host the Games, China has earnestly fulfilled its commitments and made every effort for its preparation.

We look forward to working closely together with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and delegations from all countries and regions to deliver to the world a great event that is distinctly Chinese, uniquely Asian and spectacular and to make new contribution to the Olympic Movement in Asia and the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

The Asian Games embodies the Asian people’s shared desire for peace, unity and inclusiveness.

Over decades, Asia has enjoyed overall stability as well as sustained rapid economic growth, creating the Asian Miracle that is incomparable across the world. The Asian Games has not only been a witness to this achievement, but also a participant and a contributor.

As a community with a shared future connected by mountains and rivers as well as cultural affinity, we should use sports to promote peace, pursue good neighborliness and mutual benefit, and reject Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation. We should make Asia an anchor of world peace.

The 19th Asian Games has set a new record in the numbers of registered athletes and events, reflecting the great expectations and firm support of the Asian people for the Hangzhou Games.

As humanity faces unprecedented global challenges, we should use sports to promote unity, seize the historic opportunity, and jointly stand up to the challenges.

We should honor the OCA motto of “Ever Onward,” and open up broader prospects for the Asian road toward common development, openness and integration.

As an important birthplace of human civilization, Asia has fostered splendid cultures. The 19th Asian Games has included many disciplines with distinctive Asian features.

It provides a platform to celebrate sports and culture, and showcases Asian culture that is inclusive, vibrant and always keen to learn from others.

We should use sports to promote inclusiveness, enhance confidence in our civilizations, pursue exchanges and mutual learning, and renew the glory of Asian civilizations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

For centuries, Hangzhou has been known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich endowment and a thriving cultural life. Marco Polo described it as “the City of Heaven, the finest and the noblest in the world.”

I once worked in Zhejiang Province for quite a few years. Committed to reform and opening up, the Province is now fast-tracking toward high-quality development.

It is building a demonstration zone for common prosperity, and has become a pioneer in Chinese modernization. I wish you all an unforgettable experience in the picturesque Zhejiang and a fond memory by the flames of the Asian Games.

Now, I would like to propose a toast,

To the success of the 19th Asian Games,

To the advancement of the Olympic Movement,

To the unity and friendship of the Asian people, and

To the health of all distinguished guests and your families.

AFP/APP/Newspakistan.tv

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.