|Statement by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yishan at the 58th Session of the General Assembly on "Sport for Peace and Development" (Item 23 a, b)|
Being a common language of mankind, sport is an important factor in the promotion of peace and development. Ever since ancient times, sport has transcended differences in race, color and culture and given expression to mankind's aspirations for and pursuit of a peaceful and better world, as evidenced in the Olympic spirit that came into being more than 2,000 years ago.
Since Mr. Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Olympic Games at the end of the 19th century, the peoples of the world have remained unshaken in their resolve to pursue the Olympic ideal. The founding of the United Nations and the establishment of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, while contributing to the maintenance of world peace and social development, have also facilitated the spread and further development of the Olympic spirit.
In the view of the Chinese delegation, in our times in the 21st century, countries of the world should continue to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and actively advocate the Olympic spirit so as to enhance the dialogue and exchanges among civilizations and promote steady economic and social progress throughout the world.
Sport and physical education are activities undertaken in mankind's ceaseless pursuit of the Olympic ideal. Sport not only builds one's physique, but also teaches communication, cooperation, respect for others, and acceptance of failure. As such, it is an important medium for strengthening the ties among different civilizations and values. We support the consideration of the sub-item entitled "International Year of Sport and Physical Education" at the current session of the GA and would like to thank the Permanent Mission of Tunisia for its initiative in this regard.
The government and people of China have always admired the purposes and principles of the Olympic spirit and supported the efforts made by the Olympics in promoting world peace. Even as we speak, the Chinese government and people are doing our utmost in our preparations for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in the hope of making it a grand gathering that will carry forward the Olympic spirit, promote world peace and enhance the friendship among peoples of the world, so that the Olympic spirit will flourish once again, this time in China, an oriental country with an ancient civilization.
The 28th Olympics will be held next year in Athens, Greece. It is of extremely important significance that the Olympic Games will return to its place of origin after more than 100 years. We wholeheartedly wish the Athens Olympics full success. Finally, please allow me to conclude my statement with a quotation from the address by Foreign Minister Papandreou of Greece in this years' general debate: "Let us reaffirm our commitment to the spirit of peaceful cooperation upon which the Olympics were founded. Let us send a symbolic message from this international body of peace for a peaceful Olympics, and ultimately, for a more peaceful world."
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.