Seminar on 50th anniversary of 'Ping-Pong diplomacy' calls for further development of China-Japan relations

2021-08-27 08:17:55Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A seminar commemorating the 50th anniversary of "Ping-Pong diplomacy" was held in Nagoya, Japan, on Thursday, with participants calling for the further development of China-Japan relations.

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou attended the seminar virtually and delivered a keynote speech, expressing the hope that China and Japan will review the original aspiration of normalization of diplomatic ties and push their bilateral relations to a higher level, as the two countries mark the 50th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic ties next year.

He noted the historical significance of "Ping-Pong diplomacy," saying that 50 years on, the world is moving towards multi-polarity and economic globalization, countries are more interdependent than ever, and global challenges keep emerging, and that the world is calling for unity, coordination and win-win cooperation.

He hoped that China and Japan will cherish the fruitful achievements of bilateral relations over the past half century, firmly adhere to the right direction of peace, friendship and cooperation, and constantly push the relations to a higher level.

Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said in a video address that China and Japan should inherit and carry forward the tradition of friendship between their peoples, take history as a mirror and look forward to the future, promote the steady and long-term development of bilateral relations and jointly safeguard peace and prosperity in Asia.

Shoichi Kondo, secretary general of the Sino-Japan Friendship Parliamentarians' Union, and Ichiro Hirosawa, deputy mayor of Nagoya city, said in their speeches that the Japan-China relations at the government level are like arteries while the people-to-people friendly relations are like veins, which complement each other and are indispensable.

"Ping-Pong diplomacy" is a model of people-to-people exchanges promoting the development of state-to-state relations, which has important practical significance, they said.

Fifty years ago, the U.S. table tennis team was invited by its Chinese counterpart to visit China at the conclusion of the 31st World Championships in Nagoya. The U.S. players landed at the Beijing airport on April 10, 1971, becoming the first U.S. group to visit China since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

The Chinese team paid a return visit the following year. The mutual visits broke the ice in two decades of estranged China-U.S. relations and eventually led to the normalization of bilateral ties.


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