Chinese President Xi Jinping hosts welcoming banquet for international dignitaries at 19th Asian Games opening ceremony in Hangzhou

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President Xi

23rd September 2023 – (Hangzhou) 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 an important diplomatic venue for China to convey its friendly and firm message to the world and add impetus to 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 carry 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 neighbourliness 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 neighbourliness 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 to 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 hope 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 U.S. is not named, Asian 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 crises in Asia and jeopardize regional stability, as proven in the 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 Organising 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 civilisations, uphold communication and mutual learning, and add new glory to Asian civilizations.