WUHAN, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with defense department and military leaders of participating countries and senior officials of the International Military Sports Council (CISM) here on Friday before the 7th Military World Games is opened.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), extended a warm welcome on behalf of the Chinese government, Chinese people and the Chinese military, to the leaders, officials and athletes and joined them for a group photo.
"Sport is an important symbol of social development and human progress. It is an integral part of people-to-people and cultural exchanges," Xi said.
Xi noted that soldiers and sports are connected in nature, as many sport disciplines, including shooting and marathon, originated in military practices. Military sports help build up the physique of the soldiers, boost their morale and showcase their capabilities, as well as promote exchanges between militaries. They are given high attention by countries around the globe.
Xi pointed out that Chinese military attaches great importance to military sports and has organized extensive military sports activities. China is also an active participant in international military sports competitions, especially since joining the CISM in 1978, after which China, along with other CISM member nations, has taken part in military sports competitions and hosted military sports activities, and conducted cooperations and exchanges with them, becoming an active participant, a proactive contributor and a key driver to the development of military sports.
Xi noted that the Military World Games was founded to commemorate peace and held to spread friendship. It has become a significant platform for military of different countries to present themselves, boost friendship and expand their influence. Known as the "Olympics for the military", the Games has attracted global attention and interests.
Since the successful bid in May 2015, the Chinese government and military have upheld the motto of "friendship through sport" and adhered to the principle of hosting a "green, inclusive, open and clean" Games. With the integration of a global perspective, the Olympic standard and Chinese characteristics, all the preparatory work has been completed with high quality.
"This year, the slogan 'Military Glory, World Peace' expresses the hopes that athletes of different countries could display the sports spirit of tenacity and let the power of sports dispel the shadow of war, bridge communications between different cultures and bring together people's heart for peace," Xi said.
Xi added that China would strive to make the Games into an international gathering of peace that encourages soldiers to compete on fair grounds and facilitates exchanges and mutual learning of diverse military cultures.
Xi underlined that the Chinese military seeks to take this Games as an opportunity to promote innovative development of military cooperation, enhance exchanges with foreign militaries, broaden practical cooperation in all fields and fulfill its international obligations.
"China would like to join hands with foreign militaries to tackle the common security threats and challenges and make greater contribution to safeguarding world peace and building a community of shared future for humanity," he said.
Xi voiced hopes that the guests could take this opportunity to learn about China and the Chinese military in the new era and feel the hospitality and friendliness of the Chinese people. He wished the Games a big success and the athletes a good performance in a friendly atmosphere.
Xi also welcomed the guests to the upcoming 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum held from Oct. 20 to 22, where all attendees are expected to pool their minds together, fostering consensus and offering their wisdom for world peace.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense of Cambodia Tea Banh and CISM President Herve Piccirillo, on behalf of defense department and military leaders of participating countries and the CISM, thanked President Xi for attending the meeting and appreciated the contribution by the Chinese government and military to the development of international military sports. They also hailed the preparatory works as efficient and well-organized.
They expressed the willingness to boost exchanges with China in military and national defense, including military sports, to safeguard regional and world peace and build a community of shared future for humanity.
The 7th CISM Military World Games was officially opened on Friday evening at the Wuhan Sports Center.