- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

Passing the torch
Greek Ambassador Alexander Philon will place a laurel wreath on the head of a Greek-American bearing the Olympic torch on a run through Washington today.
Mr. Philon, in remarks prepared for the ceremony, notes that the procession of the Olympic torch on its way to the Salt Lake City Games is dedicated to the "victims and heroes" of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"The Olympic flame has come to symbolize peace, good will and the struggle for perfection," he said in an advance copy of his speech sent to Embassy Row.
"As these Olympic traditions began in Greece, we are especially proud to be part of the celebrations today. May I also point out another Greek Olympic tradition the Olympic truce that provided for safe passage of the athletes and cessation of hostilities during the Olympic Games.
"Today that symbolism is especially poignant, as this torch relay is dedicated to the victims and heroes of September 11 those who lost their lives and those who helped the victims of the horrific terrorist attacks against the United States."
Mr. Philon added that Greece is preparing to hold the 2004 games for the first time since the modern tradition was revived in 1896.
The wreath ceremony is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. at the embassy, 2221 Massachusetts Ave. NW. The torch-bearer for the embassy leg of the relay will be Andrew Kaffes, the public relations director of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, the largest Greek-American organization.
The torch began its journey in the ancient home of the Games in Olympia, Greece, and was passed to representatives of the Salt Lake City Games at a Dec. 3 ceremony in Athens.

Chinese envoy recovers
Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi is recovering at a Washington hospital after a minor heart attack and heart surgery, the Chinese Embassy said yesterday.
Mr. Yang entered George Washington University Hospital on Dec. 12, complaining of pains in his chest.
"Thanks to timely medication and treatment, the heart condition was brought under control," said embassy spokesman Xie Feng.
Mr. Xie said the ambassador had heart surgery, but he did not disclose the nature of the operation.
Mr. Yang, 51, took his post in Washington in February. He is considered one of China's top specialists on American issues and is a family friend of President Bush's father.
He served as a translator for the elder Mr. Bush when he made a private visit to China in 1977. After Mr. Bush was elected president in 1988, he invited Mr. Yang to the White House.

Before his heart attack
The Chinese ambassador said he is confident that Taiwan will return to mainland control under the same type of governmental system in place in Hong Kong.
A week before his heart attack, Mr. Yang said he looked forward to the day when Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province, accepts the "one-country, two-systems" arrangement that has applied in Hong Kong since the 1997 transfer from Britain.
Hong Kong has one of the freest capitalist economies in the world and a large degree of autonomy, except on defense and foreign policy issues.
"Nowadays our compatriots in Taiwan understand more and more the value of the one-country, two-systems approach, whereas the advocacy for Taiwan independence does not enjoy popular support," Mr. Yang said at a Chinese Embassy reception to mark the 30th anniversary of the expulsion of Taiwan from the United Nations and the seating of communist China.
"I believe ultimately China will realize its reunification because this is the unstoppable historical trend," he said.
Mr. Yang also expressed sympathy to the families of victims of the September 11 attacks and said terrorism has made the role of the United Nations more important for "maintaining world peace and security."
"The Chinese people's hearts go out to the Americans," he said. "We believe that terrorism is the scourge of all mankind. The Chinese government has all along been opposed to all forms of terrorism.
"We stand together with the American people and the international community," he added.

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