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Preparation work is on the right track! Beijing gets ready for 2022 Winter Olympics

Beijing will become the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games

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An image of 2012 Olympic Games. Wikimedia

Beijing, Dec 27, 2016: Beijing has wasted no time during the one and a half years since it won its bid to host the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games along with Zhangjiakou city in July, 2015.

The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Games, which was launched last December, said in its annual report released last week that preparation work is on the right track and will be speeded up next year, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Beijing’s work has been recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC Coordination Commission held talks with the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee and visited several venues during their first meeting in Beijing in October, and said they were pleased with Beijing’s preparations.

The IOC also praised the sustainability of Beijing’s work, saying it illustrated the vision of the Olympic Agenda 2020.

The committee for Beijing 2022 has taken full advantage of the legacy of the Beijing 2008 Olympics and Paralympic Games — including repurposing existing competition venues, other infrastructure and drawing on the experience of professionals with deep operational experience.

According to the Beijing Organising Committee, venue construction will be started in 2017 and completed by 2019, and all the venues will be ready for test events in 2020.

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There will be a total of 25 competition and non-competition venues for Beijing 2022. Twelve venues are in Beijing, among which 11 are legacies of the 2008 Olympic Games. The only new venue in Beijing will be the speed skating venue.

The conceptual design of the speed skating venue has been opened to international bidding and the final design will be selected soon. The construction will get underway next April.

The alpine ski competition will be held in Yanqing. Most of the courses for this event have been selected this year. Also in Chongli, the Gent Resort Secret Garden has built an Olympic standard half-pipe. Gent is the training base for the Chinese national half-pipe ski and snowboard teams, and will host the FIS Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships in 2021 as test events for the Olympic Games.

According to the Beijing Organising Committee, the emblem for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will be unveiled in the second half of 2017, and marketing development will be underway soon.

The Beijing Organising Committee will launch first tier sponsorship recruitment in early 2017, and tier two in 2018. Exclusive sponsorship recruitment will start in 2019.

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Beijing has also put in efforts to encourage participation in winter sports, as China has vowed to encourage 300 million people in China to take up winter sports ahead of the 2022 Games.

At the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur last July, Beijing, along with Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, beat Kazakhstan’s Almaty to win its bid to co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Beijing will become the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. (IANS)

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US will not Send High-Level Officials to Attend China’s Belt and Road Summit in Beijing

"We will not send high-level officials from the United States," a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said in answer to a question from Reuters

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FILE - Journalist take pictures outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 15, 2017. VOA

The United States will not send high-level officials to attend China’s second Belt and Road summit in Beijing this month, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday, citing concerns about financing practices for the project.

China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, said on Saturday that almost 40 foreign leaders would take part in the summit due to be held in Beijing in late April. He rejected criticisms of the project as “prejudiced.”

The first summit for the project, which envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with massive infrastructure spending, was held in 2017 and was attended by Matt Pottinger, the senior White House official for Asia.

There are no such plans this year.

“We will not send high-level officials from the United States,” a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said in answer to a question from Reuters.

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The first summit for the project, which envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with massive infrastructure spending, was held in 2017 and was attended by Matt Pottinger, the senior White House official for Asia. Wikimedia

“We will continue to raise concerns about opaque financing practices, poor governance, and disregard for internationally accepted norms and standards, which undermine many of the standards and principles that we rely upon to promote sustainable, inclusive development, and to maintain stability and a rules-based order.

“We have repeatedly called on China to address these concerns,” the official added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative has proven controversial in many Western capitals, particularly Washington, which views it as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad and saddle countries with unsustainable debt through non-transparent projects.

On Saturday, Yang called such criticisms “prejudiced,” saying China has never forced debt upon participants and the project was to promote joint development.

On Saturday, he did not name the 40 leaders he said would attend, but some of China’s closest allies have already confirmed they will be there, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

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President Donald Trump poses for photos with G7 leaders at the Ancient Greek Theater of Taormina during the G7 Summit, May 26, 2017, in Taormina, Italy. VOA

The United States has been particularly critical of Italy’s decision to sign up to the plan this month, during a visit by Xi to Rome, the first for a G7 nation.

Washington sees China as major strategic rival and the Trump administration has engaged Beijing in a tit-for-tat tariff war.

The world’s two biggest economies have levied tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of bilateral trade since July 2018, raising costs, disrupting supply chains and roiling global markets.

ALSO READ: Explore America’s Newest ‘Indiana Dunes National Park’ on the Shore of Lake Michigan

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday said the countries “expect to make more headway” in trade talks this week, while the top U.S. business lobbying group said differences over an enforcement mechanism and the removal of U.S. tariffs were still obstacles to a deal. (VOA)