Tea is a symbol of Chinese culture and hospitality. It has been used by President Xi Jinping on many diplomatic occasions. As proven by the ancient Silk Road and the current Belt and Road Initiative, tea is a commodity beloved by people of different countries. In China, people can now find British black tea, Indian milk tea and Japanese matcha, besides traditional Chinese tea. Just as China is open to different varieties of tea and the cultures behind them, the country is also a staunch advocate for diplomacy involving harmony in diversity. Let's take a look at China's tea diplomacy.
June 20, 2018
President Xi Jinping drinks tea with Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, following the easing of tensions surrounding the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula. This cup of tea is a great representation of the concept of peace. (Photo/Xinhua)
April 28, 2018
President Xi Jinping talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, ahead of the start of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in June and at an important juncture for the progress of China-India relations. (Photo/Xinhua)
During the meeting, Xi and Modi tried two types of local tea, Lichuan black tea and Enshi green tea. Xi also mentioned that another type of tea from Yichang, Hubei, had ties with India. With exchanges between China and India in trade and culture dating far back, President Xi emphasized that China and India should expand and deepen exchanges, be committed to the rejuvenation of Eastern civilization, call for respect for cultural diversity, and promote the harmonious coexistence of different civilizations.
Feb. 1, 2018
President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan, and visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May, have afternoon tea in Beijing. (Photo/Xinhua)
Jan. 12, 2017
President Xi Jinping has a tea break with Vietnam's ruling party chief Nguyen Phu Trong after an official meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Photo/Xinhua)
Xi and Trong talked about the tea culture that the two countries share. Xi also shared the connotation of the Chinese character (茶) of tea, which is formed with Chinese character people (人)between grass (艹) and trees (木). Just as people may bump into each other, nations may also have frictions with one another. As long as people can shelve differences, promote harmony and adhere to the principle of harmony in diversity, people can maximize their common interests.
Nov. 24, 2017
Posters were released at a press briefing held by the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee announcing a dialogue between the CPC and other political parties from across the globe in Beijing. (Photo/Xinhua)
It's a cultural tradition of China to meet friends over tea to exchange ideas. President Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, delivered a keynote speech at the dialogue, calling on world political parties to build a community with shared future for mankind.
April 1, 2014
President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. (Photo/Xinhua)
When Xi delivered a speech at the College of Europe in Belgium in 2014, he used the comparison of tea and beer to talk about China-Europe relations.
"The Chinese people are fond of tea and the Belgians love beer. To me, the moderate tea drinker and the passionate beer lover represent two ways of understanding life and knowing the world, and I find them equally rewarding. When good friends get together, they may want to drink to their heart's content to show their friendship. They may also choose to sit down quietly and drink tea while chatting about their lives. In China, we value the idea of preserving 'harmony without uniformity', and here in the EU people stress the need to be 'united in diversity'. Let us work together for all flowers of human civilizations to blossom together," said Xi.