BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- World leaders have extended their warm greetings to the Chinese people on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival that fell on Friday.
At the beginning of a video message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introduced himself and said "Happy Lunar New Year" in Mandarin Chinese.
"I send my best wishes to all of you and your loved ones as we celebrate the Year of the Horse," he said. "And I wish you health, happiness and success in the coming year."
U.S. President Barack Obama, in a video message released by the White House, said he and his wife Michelle joined in welcoming the Lunar New Year.
"I want to wish everyone celebrating a Happy New Year and may this be a year of prosperity for you and your families," he said.
In a video clip on Weibo, China's popular twitter-like micro blogging service, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent his wishes to the Chinese communities celebrating the Lunar New Year.
"These celebrations are reminder of the richness and vibrancy of Chinese culture here in the UK, and on this New Year, I want to pay tribute to the incredible contribution that British Chinese community makes to this country," he said.
Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo voices his best wishes to the Chinese people.
"On the occasion of the beginning of the Year of the Horse, I would like to express my best wishes to all Chinese people and to their representatives," di Rupo said in a video message sent to the Chinese Embassy. "And I hope that we will continue for long time to deepen our wonderful relations."
In a written statement to Xinhua, Greek President Karolos Papoulias said he would like to send to the Chinese people his "warmest and not just formal wishes on the occasion of the Spring Festival, a significant and very interesting holiday."
He noted that the two countries and peoples are connected with deep cultural bonds, and with historic relations of cooperation and solidarity, "which we honor and look forward to their development."
South African President Jacob Zuma congratulated all members of the Chinese community in his country and around the world, pledging to promote relations with China.
"Together with all the people of South Africa, I am pleased to be able to wish all members of the Chinese Community in South Africa and around the world, a happy and successful New Year -- the Year of the Horse," Zuma said in a statement.
In a message sent to the Chinese Association in Cambodia, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen blessed the Chinese community with good luck, fortune and happiness in the Lunar New Year.
"On the occasion of the Chinese traditional New Year -- the Year of Horse, in the status of the prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, I'd like to join the celebrations with all brotherly Chinese people who have always lived and shared difficult and happy times together for decades," he said.
At a celebration organized by the Malaysian Chinese Association to mark the Lunar New Year, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his confidence that relations between his country and China are "getting stronger and stronger."
"I look forward to working very closely with the new leadership in China, so that we can bring mutual prosperity to both Malaysia and China," he said.