|Spectacular fireworks explode over China Pavilion at the World Expo Park during the opening ceremony for the 2010 World Expo held in Shanghai, east China, April 30, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Kai)|
BEIJING, May 1 (Xinhua) -- The 2010 Shanghai World Expo opened on Friday night, attracting the attention of the world and international participation and earning heartfelt congratulations.
Some 20 world leaders attended the opening ceremony and toured the Expo, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak.
Chinese President Hu Jintao met Prime Minister of the Netherlands Jan Peter Balkenende in Shanghai Saturday.
Balkenende spoke highly of the opening ceremony and fireworks and said he was impressed deeply by the China National Pavilion and Sichuan Pavilion he visited Saturday morning.
While meeting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Shanghai Saturday, President Hu thanked the EU for its participation in the Shanghai World Expo, the organization's first presence at a World Expo held outside the EU countries.
Barroso said the ceremony was a great event that showcased a modern China and a China that was much respected.
He also said the Expo would be conducive to a stronger common understanding between China and the EU.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement Friday, saying he expected the Canada Pavilion would show Canada as a modern, democratic and pluralistic country.
"The Expo itself will provide us with an opportunity to build stronger economic, diplomatic and cultural ties with China as we showcase our country, our arts and culture, and our values," he said.
Expecting millions of visitors from around the world over the next six months, he said: "Let us seize this opportunity to promote our country and build closer ties with our trading partners."
Rafal Baniak, undersecretary of state in Poland's ministry of economy, said Saturday at a ceremony at the Shanghai Expo to open his country's pavilion that the Polish people wanted to give the world a better understanding of Poland's economic development through the Expo.
He added that Poland wished to foster closer economic ties with China.
Chairman and CEO of the U.S. Greater China Corporation, John W. Allen, told Xinhua in an email interview after the opening ceremony that "like the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo is bigger and better than any previous such event and will definitely set the standard for the future."
Allen echoed Chinese President Hu Jintao's remarks that the Expo was a "showcase of the best achievements of human civilization."
"It serves as a beacon for peace rather than a capacity for war," he said, "The Shanghai Expo will probably become an even hotter topic among Americans as China has once and again stunned the world by showcasing its might and skills of handling such big events."
In an interview with Xinhua, Milan's Mayor Letizia Moratti, whose city will host the next World Expo said: "Shanghai Expo will be a monumental exposition, with many magnificent buildings created by architects from all over the world."
"We have many things to learn from China's ability to quickly innovate, open to the world and adopt the best technologies," she said while extending her warm congratulations on the opening.