Shanghai celebrated the opening of its $44 billion World Expo with fireworks, lasers and songs performed by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and martial-arts film star Jackie Chan.
The city locked down parts of its financial district and closed bridges near the Expo park before the opening ceremony that was attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting state leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Bloomberg reports.
"The World Expo is a grand event to showcase the best achievements of human civilization. It is also a great occasion for people from around the world to share joy and friendship," President Hu Jintao told a welcome dinner for foreign leaders.
"As the first registered World Expo hosted by a developing country, the Shanghai Expo will be an opportunity for China and also for the world," Hu added, to an audience which included North Korea's number two, Kim Yong-nam, Reuters says.
The Kremlin is very concerned about the events related to the crash of the Il-20 Russian military aircraft in Syria