PHNOM PENH, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The 37th session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC) inscribed China's Xinjiang Tianshan on the World Heritage List as a natural site on Friday.
"Let me congratulate China on behalf of the entire committee on the inscription of the Xinjiang Tianshan natural property on the World Heritage List,"Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the 37th WHC session, announced at the plenary session.
Huang Wei, Vice-Chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, expressed gratitude to the committee, saying that the inscription showed the outstanding universal value of the property.
"We are very excited to see our wonderful and unique site inscribed on the World Heritage List," he told the session. "It also reflect China's high protection standard in protecting and conserving this natural property for our future generation."
He said that China was looking forward to strengthening cooperation with Heritage Center and the International Union for Conservation Nature (IUCN) to explore the potential for the site.
China's National Commission for UNESCO nominated the Xinjiang Tianshan as a world natural heritage to the UNESCO on January 29, 2010.
Xinjiang Tianshan is a serial property totaling 606,833 hectares and consisting of four components which are located along the 1,760 km Tianshan range, a temperate arid zone surrounded by Central Asian deserts, according to IUCN.
The site contains a scenically beautiful series of areas, including spectacular snow-capped mountains and glacier-capped peaks, undisturbed forests and meadows, clear rivers and lakes and red bed canyons, reinforced by the combination and contrast between the above-mentioned mountain elements and the vast deserts.
The site is home to 15,953 glaciers and the endangered snow leopard. About 66 percent of the world's 2,500 remaining snow leopards live in Xinjiang.
The delegates of the 21-member World Heritage Committee lauded China for having this wonderful natural property inscribed on the World Heritage List.
"Despite some problem between us, Japan still supports the inscription of this great and unique property of Xinjiang Tianshan onto the World Heritage List," the head of Japanese delegation said.
"The site is more than splendid, it is unique, I appreciate China for well conserving and protecting the property," said the head of Qatar delegation.
"Congratulations! China," Ek Tha, a spokesman for the 37th WHC session, told Xinhua. "Your country is becoming more known to the outside world with the listing of Xinjiang Tianshan on the World Heritage List."
He said that this move would not only help preserve and conserve the site, but also attract more tourists to the site.
"This is another success of China by achieving the successful inscription of the Xinjiang Tianshan on the World Heritage List," he said. "The outstanding universal values of Xinjiang Tianshan deserves the inscription on the World Heritage List."
He said that the inscription was another example that China has been playing a great role in protecting and preserving the natural properties so that the next generations will also benefit a great deal from them.
Roni Amelan, UNESCO's spokesman, said earlier that a half of 30 new properties are likely to be inscribed on the list during the 37th WHC session in Phnom Penh which will last until June 27.
As of last year, the UNESCO has added 962 properties with " outstanding universal value" to the World Heritage List.