Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged local officials to seize of the opportunities brought by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to strengthen the prosperity and ethnic unity in the country's western areas.
The railway stretches 1,956 km from Xining, provincial capital of Qinghai to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It went into operation on Saturday.
Immediately after the celebration to mark the opening of the railway the president boarded a train Saturday noon to inspect the construction work which has been carried out and the operation of the railway. He praised the contribution of workers in the past years in building the highest railway line in the world.
Some 960 km of the track is 4,000 meters above sea level with the highest point being 5,072 meters. An 814 km section from Xining to Golmud began operation in 1984 and building work on the Golmud-Lhasa link started on June 29, 2001.
Hu asked local officials to make full use of resources to accelerate economic and social development and improve the people's living standards. In the meantime, the environment should be well protected for the benefit of future generations.
At a railway station Hu visited the control rooms for the operation of trains and tracks and asked about the living and working conditions of railway staff in the plateau areas. He wished them good health and called on them to continue contributing to the country's rail network.
(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2006)