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Chinese official urges "basketball diplomacy" to enhance China-U.S. people-to-people exchanges

(Xinhua)    15:08, June 22, 2015

HOUSTON, June 21 -- Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong on Sunday called for more "basketball diplomacy" activities to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.

Liu made the appeal during a visit to NBA basketball team Houston Rockets' home field Toyota Center, where a group of Chinese student athletes from Tsinghua High School are working on a basketball training program.

She said sports are an important part in people-to-people exchanges, which have played a unique and significant role in China-U.S. ties.

"'Ping Pong Diplomacy' opened the gate for establishing China-U.S. diplomatic relations in early years, and today, we need more sports diplomacy such as basketball diplomacy to continually enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and the United States," Liu said.

Liu pointed out that former Rockets All Star player Yao Ming, who was accompanying her in the visit, is a world-famous basketball master and also an envoy of China-U.S. friendship. Liu encouraged students to become goodwill messengers like Yao to promote the two countries' friendship, and make contributions to the building of new type of major-country relations.

Liu said she hopes students will seize the overseas training opportunity to hone basketball skills, learn team spirit and enhance communication abilities.

Liu opened a basketball game between Chinese and U.S. high school students, and watched the game.

Earlier, Liu met officials from the NBA to learn about its management and discussed cooperation between the NBA and its Chinese partners. Enditem

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Yuan,Bianji)

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