Chinese senior official praises "Ping Pong diplomacy" commemoration
Published: Jul 06, 2011 01:53 PM Updated: Jul 06, 2011 02:01 PM

Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong on Monday praised the activities commemorating 40th anniversary of "Ping Pong diplomacy".

In 1971, nine American table tennis players were invited to Beijing for exhibition games with Chinese players, helping break the ice between China and the United States and lay the groundwork for the eventual establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

To commemorate the historic event and put into practice the consensus reached at the second annual high-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, the table tennis associations of the two countries have organized a series of activities.

Liu, representing the Chinese government, congratulated them on the initiative and extended her greetings to the table tennis players who had participated in the event.

With their outstanding strategic foresight and excellent art of diplomacy, Liu said in her letter, the older generations of leaders and politicians used the ping-pong ball to advance China-U.S. ties 40 years ago, starting the extraordinary development process of bilateral ties.

In the China-U.S. Joint Statement signed between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama during Hu's U.S. visit in January, people-to-people exchanges were considered part of the China-U.S. cooperative partnership, Liu said.

At the second annual high-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, held in the United States in April, a variety of areas, including sports, were included in people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, she said.

Liu said she hoped that people-to-people exchanges including sports exchanges, like the "Ping Pong diplomacy" 40 years ago, could help further the China-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

The U.S.-hosted activities run from July 1 to 9 in Milwaukee, San Francisco and Los Angeles. China will hold related activities at the end of this year, including in Hangzhou, capital of China's eastern province of Zhejiang.

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