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China/Olympic games

China/Olympic games

Published on August 7, 2008
Interview given by M. NIcolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, to the "Xinhua" (New China) news agency

Paris, August 6, 2008

Q. - You’re off to Beijing soon for the Olympic Games opening ceremony. What messages do you want to convey to the Chinese and French peoples by your presence at the Olympics?

THE PRESIDENT - I’m delighted at the prospect of going to Beijing, at the invitation of the French National Olympic Sport Committee, to attend this landmark event. These Olympics promise to be a great sporting festival and spectacular success. As you perhaps know, this is the first time a French president will be participating in the capacity of European Union President-in-Office in the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

The first message I would like to convey to the Chinese people is that the Beijing Games are a formal endorsement of the recognition that the China of the twenty-first century is a modern global power; one of the giants of today’s world. The Olympic Games strikingly confirm this: China has regained her standing among the greatest nations. It is as it should be: China, with her rich civilization and hardworking people, now has the ability to make a decisive contribution to the emergence of a world of development and peace.

Secondly, I want to salute the tremendous way the Chinese people have mobilized over the past seven years to organize the Olympic Games. I am sure the peoples of the world will be struck not only by the strength of the Chinese people’s solidarity and determination, but also, and above all, by their hospitality. These Games are a milestone in globalization, strengthening the ties between the world’s peoples.

To this China, for whom every day sees increasing success, I send a warm message of friendship; a historic, unfailing, unshakeable friendship binding the French people to the Chinese people. Recently there has been some speculation in both our countries on the reality and tenor of this friendship. As my presence in Beijing will once again confirm, the friendship between France and China is a fundamental priority of France’s foreign policy; it fulfils our two peoples’ deep aspirations; it is essential to the construction of a fairer, safer and more harmonious international order.

Q. - What do you expect from the Beijing Olympic Games?

THE PRESIDENT - For me, the Olympic Games are, above all, a great sporting festival. This festival is the opportunity to see gathered together the best athletes, representing all the world’s nations, not just in a spirit of competition, each endeavouring to surpass their best, but also in one of humanity, conviviality and fraternity. These values to which I am particularly committed are the very essence of the Olympic Games.

I believe the period of the Games is also conducive to dialogue, to exchanges. I look forward during my time in Beijing to having another meeting with President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. This will provide the opportunity to discuss the main issues and see what new projects we could promote together, particularly looking ahead to the EU-Asia summit which China will host in October and the EU-China summit in France in December.

(…)

The preparation of this event reflects today’s China: ambitious, dynamic, vibrant, modern and determined. I am impressed by all the talents you have brought together to ensure the success of this festival.

In preparing the Olympic Games, China has given her all. If organizing the Olympic Games were a sporting event, I am sure you would agree with me in awarding China the gold medal! (…)./.