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Chinese President meets UN Chief in Russia
February 7, 2014, 11:45 am

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 6, 2014. Xi will attend the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games here, at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 6, 2014. Xi will attend the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games here, at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin [Xinhua]

Ahead of the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Sochi. Ban and Xi exchanged notes on Syria, the Korean peninsula and climate change, Chinese media reports said.

The opening ceremony at the winter wonderland is being attended by more than 40 heads of state, which includes Xi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and their Russian counterpart Putin.

Nearly 3,000 athletes from 87 countries and regions will compete for 98 gold medals in 15 disciplines across seven sports.

Xi on Friday said the “Olympic ideal of peace is highly consistent with the UN’s principle of promoting peace for mankind”.

The Chinese President stressed that China’s development cannot be achieved without “a peaceful and stable external environment”.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will promote peaceful settlement of international disputes, so as to “provide Chinese wisdom and strength” in safeguarding world peace and security, he added.

The UN secretary general lauded China’s peacekeeping role saying among the five permanent UNSC members, China dispatches the largest number of peacekeepers.

The cauldron of the Sochi Winter Olympics will be lit up on Friday night.

Xi’s visit comes as a boost to Russian President Putin who has been criticized by gay-rights activist ahead of the Sochi games.

Beijing has earlier voiced concerns against the politicizing of the games. The run-up to the Winter Olympics in Russia this year has been marred with controversies from the raging criticism against the gay-propaganda ban and corruption charges in the preparations of the most expensive Olympics ever.

The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in July last year, bans pro-gay “propaganda” that could be accessible to minors. In solidarity with other protesting groups, US internet giant Google also changed its logo set against backgrounds in the six colors on the gay pride flag – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple ahead of the games in Sochi.

Putin had in January tried to reach out to the homosexual community by reassuring them about gay rights in Russia.

Russian laws do not criminalize homosexual relations unlike in some other countries, Putin told a group of Winter Olympic volunteers in the mountain village of Krasnaya Polyana.

TBP and Agencies

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