BEIJING, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping called for renewing the Silk Road spirit when addressing a banquet held Sunday evening in honor of foreign guests attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Before the banquet, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan greeted the guests at the Great Hall of the People.
While proposing a toast at the banquet, Xi said, "More than 2,000 years ago, our ancestors, driven by a desire for friendship, opened the overland and maritime Silk Roads and thus started a great era of exchanges among civilizations."
"Today, we gather here to renew the Silk Road spirit and discuss the Belt and Road development for international cooperation. This is both a continuation of our shared legacy and a right choice for the future," he said.
Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative embodies the aspiration for inter-civilization exchanges, the yearning for peace and stability, the pursuit of common development and the shared dream for a better life.
Noting that "we are at a fresh starting point, ready to embark on a new journey together," Xi said, "so long as we press ahead with a common vision without backpedaling or standing still, we will achieve greater connectivity and benefit from each other's development."
After the banquet, the guests, accompanied by Xi and his wife, watched a gala at the National Center for the Performing Arts.
Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attended the banquet and the gala.