Israeli President: looking forward to seeing Beijing Olympics and "new" China

2008-07-24 21:28:45 GMT       2008-07-25 05:28:45 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

JERUSALEM, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres said Thursday that he was looking forward to seeing the opening events of Beijing Olympics and a "new" China as well.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua in his president residence in Jerusalem, Shimon Peres, who has announced to accept the invitation of China to participate in the opening events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as President of the State of Israel, said: "I am looking forward to it. I think it the most unusual event" because of the misunderstandings China has encountered.

He said that the Chinese government and people as well have made great efforts for Beijing Olympics, which means China wants to show itself to the world and hopes to be understood by the world by demonstrating strength instead of power.

"the Beijing Olympics is an international sporting event which is meant to promote the fraternity and peace between peoples," he said.

Describing China as "the future of the world", the president said that he sees great importance in the strengthening of the relations between Israel and China and in promoting economic, cultural and security ties."

Peres visited China in 1993 as Israeli Foreign Minister and in 1998 as the Honorary President of the Council for the Promotion of Israel-China Relations.

However, he said that he is also looking forward to visit a "new" China this time as China must have changed a lot with its rapid economic growth since his latest visit to China ten years ago.

He said he is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on July 7, the eve of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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