Japanese and Chinese table tennis players exchange with each other to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship in Nagoya, April 3, 2018. (China News Service/Lv ShaoWei)
An international symposium has been held in the Japanese city of Nagoya to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ping-Pong Diplomacy, with participants looking forward to promoting the sound development of China-U.S. and China-Japan relations through sports exchanges.
Fifty years ago, exchanges between ping-pong players at the 31st World Table Tennis Championships in Nagoya paved the way for China and the United States to finally normalize bilateral ties, breaking the ice in two decades of estranged Sino-U.S. relations.
Shoichi Kondo, secretary general of the Sino-Japan Friendship Parliamentarians' Union, said at the symposium on Saturday that the Ping-Pong Diplomacy started in Nagoya 50 years ago has not only changed China-U.S. relations, but also changed the world.
Reviewing the history, Kondo said he realized just as the predecessors of the Ping-Pong Diplomacy have put it, "Political exchanges are the arteries of state-to-state exchanges, while people-to-people exchanges are the veins. The arteries and veins should be interlinked."
Liu Xiaojun, Chinese consul general in Nagoya, said that despite some complicated changes in the international community nowadays, peace and development remain the trend of the times.
China and Japan are important cooperative partners for each other and play an important role in stability and prosperity of Asia and the world at large, he said. In the post-pandemic era, cooperation between countries will be needed more than ever.
Yusuke Oda, a historical witness of the Ping-Pong Diplomacy, delivered a keynote speech recalling his visit to China 50 years ago as secretary of Koji Goto, then president of the Asian Table Tennis Federation and president of the Japan Table Tennis Association, to invite China to attend the 31st World Table Tennis Championships. During the visit, they were cordially received by then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai.
Four players from Japan and the United States who participated in the 31st World Table Tennis Championships, as well as Sheri Cioroslan, former president of USA Table Tennis also sent congratulatory messages, saying they had the honor to witness the contribution of table tennis to world peace and felt deeply the importance of people-to-people and sports exchanges.
The symposium, hosted by the Toukai branch of Japan-China Relations Academy Saturday, attracted more than 100 officials and scholars from both China and Japan to participate online and offline.