BEIJING - The Beijing Paralympics will be as successful as the Beijing Olympics, some foreign leaders have said in interviews with Xinhua.
South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Paralympics, the first time for a South Korean prime minister to attend such an event overseas.
In an interview with Xinhua Friday, he expressed appreciation of the Chinese government and people for their efforts and enthusiasm in preparations for the Games.
Han said since the first Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960, the event has become a world stage for the disabled to make their dreams come true.
The event will provide an opportunity for disabled-bodied athletes to overcome their physical handicaps, tap their potential and experience human equality, he said.
The prime minister also hoped that the Beijing Paralympics will give impetus to international exchanges for the rights of the disabled, so that all countries will create conditions for the disabled to enjoy common life.
Dutch State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport Jet Bussemaker visited China in February this year as preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics, and in August she attended the Olympic opening ceremony and watched the Dutch athletes in action.
She told Xinhua in a written interview Friday that it was clear that for China the Paralympics are as important as the Olympics.
"I am sure the Paralympics will be as much successful as the Olympic Games," she said.
Bussemaker said these games are very important because they focus on what disabled people can do instead of what they can't do. The athletes can become role models and this will contribute to their full and equal inclusion and participation in society.
Swiss Defense and Sports Minister Samuel Schmid said Wednesday that "the Swiss people and I have been very impressed by the quality of the organizing of these Games."
Schmid said one of the strengths of the Olympic Games is that they allow the world to learn about the host country, and vice versa.
He said, "The Games are a showcase for the organizing country. And China has seized this opportunity."
The minister also hoped that the Swiss Paralympic delegation will perform well at the Beijing Paralympics.
"For me, disabled athletes have already won a medal even before the start of the competitions," he said. "Their great achievement is to show us that disability does not prevent performance."
Ecuadoran Vice President Lenin Moreno said Monday that the upcoming Beijing Paralympic Games will be as splendid as the Beijing Olympic Games.
Moreno, 55, who has been paralyzed from the waist down for 10 years, said the sports event would display "the determination and courage of those (disabled people) who are already winners" as their presence shows their victory against the physical obstacles that may block the realization of their dreams.
Micronesian Foreign Minister Lorin Robert said Monday that the Beijing Paralymics is a significant event following the great success of the Beijing Olympics.
He was confident that China will also host a successful Paralymics.
"The Chinese government and people should be congratulated for the excellent arrangements and preparations for the Olympic Games. The magnitude and scope of work as well as the actual conduct of the games themselves are befitting the great host country of China," he said in the interview.
As a close friend of China, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)also shares in the glory of the success of the Games, he added.
In addition, according to the German newspaper Tagespiegel, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he believed that China will host a satisfying Paralympic Games.
Schaeuble agreed with Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), that China has opened up to the outside world, and the Beijing Olympics help the world know more about China.
He said the Beijing Paralympics will play the same role as the Olympics.