Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged local officials to get hold of the opportunities brought by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to bolster the prosperity and ethnic unity in the country's west 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.
Right after the celebration marking the launching of the railway, the president got on a train Saturday noon to inspect the construction and operation of the railway, praising the contribution of workers in the past years to construct the highest rail in the world.
Some 960 km of the railway's tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters. Actually, a section of 814 km from Xining to Golmud began operation in 1984 and the Golmud-Lhasa section started construction 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 standard. In the meantime, the environment should be protected well 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, wishing them good health and calling on them to contribute more to the country's railway contribution.