In his toast at a welcoming banquet for foreign leaders and other VIP guests who will attend the Games's opening ceremony on Friday evening, including IOC President Jacques Rogge and Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch, Hu said: "We should carry forward the Olympic spirit of solidarity, friendship and peace, facilitate sincere exchanges among people from all countries, deepen mutual understanding, enhance friendship and rise above differences, and promote the building of a harmonious world featuring lasting peace and common prosperity."
According to Xinhua, he also said there has never been a greater need for people in the world to understand, accommodate and cooperate with each other, as the world faces both unprecedented development opportunities and grave challenges.
"The Olympic Games is a great sporting event and it also offers a platform for cultural exchanges," Hu added.
He hailed the Olympic Movement, which started over 2,800 years ago in the sacred Olympia, as "a valuable spiritual and cultural asset offered to humanity by the people of ancient Greece."
He said the modern Olympic Movement, born in 1894, has built on the ancient Olympic heritage and grown into a cultural and sporting event with the broadest participation and greatest impact in the world.