- Title: CHINA: World leaders arrive in Shanghai for the Expo
- Date: 1st May 2010
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 16th May 2010 13:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: International Relations,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA7Y281Z2YDLE9TN0IUZFJGW2AA
- Story Text: Chinese President Hu Jintao welcomed world leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to Shanghai on Friday (April 30) as the financial hub prepared for the kick-off of its 2010 World Expo.
The Shanghai World Expo is the ruling Chinese Communist Party's latest extravagant use of money, underscoring the extent to which it seeks to brandish its power through flashy spectacle.
Hu welcomed officials and leaders from different continent, including Kenya and the financially troubled Greece, to a banquet before the opening ceremony began.
"Expo 2010 Shanghai is the first registered World Expo hosted by a developing country. It is an opportunity for China and also for the world. This Expo will present to the world a China, a country with a 5000-year-civilisation, that is enjoying fast development and changes through reform and opening up," Hu told leaders in a speech at the banquet.
Both South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the North's nominal number 2 leader Kim Yong-nam, who serves as the face of the government, were guests at the banquet. Although it is not clear if the two met, the event offered the first chance of a face-to-face meeting between the two representatives of the still-warring countries.
A record 189 countries and 57 organisations are participating in this years Expo, an event which has in recent years fallen off the international radar.
The government is spending billions of dollars on the Expo -- local media estimate some 58 billion U.S. dollars if infrastructure is included -- transforming an area larger than Monaco into a giant exhibition site.
For China's 1.3 billion people, powering an economy likely to soon overtake Japan as the world's second-largest, the hoopla and glitz of the Expo will be cast as another display of the Communist leadership's power and prestige.
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