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"Basketball diplomacy" adds vigor to high-level China-U.S. dialogue
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08:17, July 30, 2009

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Holding an umber basketball in his hand, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan became the center of attention at the end of the first round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue on Tuesday.

The basketball, with Barack Obama's autograph, is a gift from the U.S. president to Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan who is the co-host of the "Economic Track" of the dialogue.

The basketball is considered a symbol of the U.S. government's hospitality and gratitude to Chinese officials for their efforts in making this dialogue a success.

During his closing address, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, co-host of the "Strategic Track," introduced the basketball to reporters, as he hailed the "in-depth, broad, candid, and productive" discussions between the two sides and expressed the Chinese delegation's appreciation of what the American government has done to arrange the dialogue.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) presents a basketball to Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (C), special representative of Chinese President Hu Jintao, as Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo (L) stands by in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on July 28, 2009. Obama met with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, special representatives of Hu, here on Tuesday. Wang Qishan and Dai Bingguo were in Washington to participate the two-day US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue concluded here on July 28. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)

He also said that the Chinese side will work together with the U.S. side to make good preparations to ensure that President Obama's first visit to China later this year will be a success.

It was not the first time that basketball took the central stage during the two-day meeting.

During his speech at the opening session on Monday, Obama, who is a well-known basketball fan, reached out to his Chinese guests by quoting Chinese NBA star Yao Ming.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (L), special representative of Chinese President Hu Jintao, holds a basketball presented by the U.S. President Barack Obama as a gift in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on July 28, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)

"As a new president and also as a basketball fan, I have learned from the words of Yao Ming, who said, No matter whether you are new or an old team member, you need time to adjust to one another," said the president.

"Well, through the constructive meetings that we've already had, and through this dialogue, I'm confident that we will meet Yao's standard," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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