President Hu Jintao pledged yesterday to honour China's Olympic commitments, and Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee president, said he was confident the Games would be 'historic'.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 120th IOC session, held in Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts on Monday night, Mr Hu said the central government and Chinese people would spare no effort to hold a 'high standard' Olympics.
'It's our hope that through the Games, we can show the world the sincere aspiration of the Chinese people to share the benefits of development and to join the rest of the world in building a bright future,' Xinhua quoted Mr Hu as saying.
China had not only realised rapid economic development and social progress, but had made great achievements in sport, which served as a major bridge for exchange and co-operation with the outside world, he said.
Dr Rogge praised the Beijing Games as already a 'landmark event for the Olympic movement', state media reported.
'The mere fact that the Olympic Games are coming to China - home to nearly 20 per cent of the world's population - is significant,' Xinhua quoted Dr Rogge as saying.
He said the Beijing Games would significantly advance the Olympic goals of universality and fair play, citing a record number of participating delegations, with female athletes making up almost half the total, and more stringent drug testing.
The Games would also leave a great legacy for China, he said, with new infrastructure improving the quality of life in the long term.
'Many of the infrastructure investments and other steps taken as a result of the Olympics will help China deal with environmental challenges,' Dr Rogge said.