— Foreign Ministry confirm Premier to attend opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics
ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and he would conduct an official visit to China from February 3-5.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed told the weekly media briefing on Thursday that during the prime minister’s visit, officials of Islamabad and Beijing would discuss the second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), among other matters.
The Pakistani prime minister’s presence will be of great significance as some major western countries have decided on the diplomatic boycott of the mega event, set to begin on February 4.
The United States and its western allies including United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have announced a diplomatic boycott of the event, while North Korea was the latest country to pull out, citing the pandemic.
Beijing promises to host green and sustainable Winter Games
China has meanwhile announced that Winter Olympic Games will feature a green and sustainable management system and boost regional development of Beijing and its co-host city Zhangjiakou, said Beijing 2022 organizers at a press conference on Thursday.
The Beijing 2022 Games has strictly implemented low-carbon management, with all venues meeting green building standards, said Li Sen, director general of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games (BOCOG) General Planning Department.
A low-carbon transportation system has been built to carry out carbon offsets, Li said, adding that Beijing 2022 will be carbon neutral.
Sustainability on snowmaking, venues and railways
“Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is the first Games to fully implement Olympic Agenda 2020 with focus on sustainability,” said Yan Jiarong, BOCOG spokesperson.
Snowmaking is common for major winter events, and Beijing 2022 follows the best environmental practices, the organizers said.
All venues are powered by renewable energy, and Beijing has built a railway network between the Olympic zones, boosting the regional service sector, they said.
Beijing 2022 Pre-Games Sustainability Report
BOCOG released the Beijing 2022 Pre-Games Sustainability Report at the conference. It echoes the latest statistics released by the General Administration of Sport of China showing 346 million people have now participated in winter sports.
The goal of “engaging 300 million people on the snow and ice” has become a reality, said BOCOG, adding that China’s winter sports have been growing rapidly in recent years and relevant policies to promote winter sports will continue after the Games.
Both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons spoke highly of the report via videos showed at the conference.
Message from IOC President Thomas Bach:
“Dear Olympic friends, congratulations to the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee for the publication of the Beijing 2022 Pre-Games Sustainability Report. As the world faces increasing sustainability challenges, everyone should play their part in addressing them”.
“This report shows that the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee recognizes the responsibility to integrate sustainability principles throughout all stages of Games preparations. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games will be the start of a new era for global winter sport, engaging 300 million Chinese people with sport on snow and ice”.
“Already now, these Winter Olympic Games are providing tangible social and economic benefits to the people in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing. As this report outlines, Beijing 2022 is helping accelerate sustainable development in China, showcasing solutions for a more sustainable future.”
Message from IPC President Andrew Parsons:
“This informative report discloses sustainability highlights of the Games. This report introduces efforts made by China to host the Beijing 2022 Games. According to the report, due to the influence of the Paralympics in the past few years, accessible facilities have increased in Beijing and Zhangjiakou.
Para-sports have flourished and the two cities have made remarkable progress in social integration of people with disabilities. As an important partner of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Campaign, the IPC supports all efforts aimed at promoting the achievement of the SDGs in the field of sports.”