Wed, January 07, 2009
China > China & World > 30th anniversary of Sino-U.S. diplomatic relations

Ping-Pong Diplomacy in pictures

2009-01-07 10:03:48 GMT2009-01-07 18:03:48 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The American table tennis team made a visit to the Great Wall (Xinhua file photo)

The American table tennis team made a visit to the Great Wall. (Xinhua file photo)

Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai met with the visiting U.S. table tennis team in April, 1971. (File Photo)

The image of American table tennis player Glenn Cowan was published on a magazine cover. (File Photo)

Glenn Cowan (right) and the three-time World Men's Singles Champion Zhuang Zedong (left) on the Chinese team bus in Nagoya, Japan, on April 6, 1971.(Xinhua file Photo)

BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhuanet)-- From April 11 to 17, 1971, the U.S. table tennis team, after attending the 31st World Table Tennis Championship in Nagoya, Japan, visited China at the invitation of the Chinese team, thus opening the door to Sino-U.S. exchanges which had been shut close for 22 years. The move was praised as "Ping-Pong diplomacy" by the international media.

During the world championship, the U.S. team expressed its wish to visit China afterwards; and on April 6, when competitions were drawing to a close, Chairman Mao Zedong made his decision on the invitation.

On April 10, the United States Table Tennis Association President, the head of the U.S. table tennis team and players arrived in Beijing. Premier Zhou Enlai made specific arrangements for the visit, pointing out the visit is a good opportunity to open up the prospect of Sino-U.S. relations. This event had a significant impact on the breakthrough of the Sino-U.S. relations, known as "small ball propeling the big ball."

On April 14, Premier Zhou Enlai received the table tennis teams from the United States, Canada, Colombia and other countries in the Great Hall of the People, and held a long conversation with the U.S. team. After that, the Chinese and the U.S. teams held a friendly match. The U.S. team was also invited to tour the Great Wall, the Tsinghua University and other places. The same day, U.S. President Richard Nixon issued a statement, adopting a series of measures on the improvement of relations between the two countries.

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