File photo: IOC President Thomas Bach. [Photo/Agencies] BEIJING - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach expressed on Thursday his gratitude to Chinese President Xi Jinping for his personal commitment to the successful hosting of Beijing 2022 amid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Xi inspected the preparatory work of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing and the co-host city of Zhangjiakou from January 18 to 19 before presiding over a meeting on the Beijing 2022 preparations on January 20. "We are very grateful to President Xi, that despite all the other important issues he has to address this times, in particular, leading the fight against the coronavirus in China in such a successful way, he took the time to visit all these venues and to express his personal commitment to the success of this safe Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," Bach said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua over a video link. In a telephone conversation with Bach on Tuesday, the Chinese President said the country has strictly implemented prevention and control measures, overcome the impact of the epidemic, and actively promoted the steady progress of all preparation work for the games. The Chinese side, with strong support from various parties, will complete all preparation work as scheduled, so as to ensure Beijing 2022 is a complete success, Xi noted. Upon learning the progress so far, the IOC chief was lavish in his compliments. "China has been leading in this [counter COVID-19] effort and has demonstrated in an excellent way how to fight the virus and has made excellent progress, and already has the economy back in growth. This is a remarkable success," he said. Bach also welcomed Beijing 2022's guiding principles of "simplicity, safety and excellence," which Xi pointed out during his address at the meeting on the games' preparations. "In fact, the three slogans or words he expressed at the time reflect 100% the position of the IOC," said Bach, adding that safety is the top priority of the organizational efforts. "It is also clear that we want with this Olympic Games to experience the passion and excellence of sport and the excellence of the Chinese organization, which we all could admire in so many respects in so many sporting events already," he added.