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Ping-pong breaks ice between China, U.S. after years of isolation

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Posters introducing ping-pong diplomacy between China, United States in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA – Sept 18, 2017 | REUTERS

Ping-pong has played a vital role in breaking the ice between China and the United States and strengthening the bilateral relations even before the two nations established diplomatic ties.

The sport paved the way in the 1970s for the two nations to end years of isolation.

It all started with a friendly chat with an American who got on the wrong bus.

The year was 1971. The Chinese national ping-pong team was attending the World Table Tennis Championship in Japan.

Zhang Xielin, a former coach of Chinese national ping-pong team, recalled that the team was on the bus to the stadium, laughing and chatting, and all of a sudden an American hopped on.

When American ping-pong player Glenn Cowan boarded Team China’s bus, there was silence at first. Then, Chinese paddler Zhuang Zedong came forward and started talking to Cowan. Later, Zhuang offered a Hangzhou brocade as a present to the American athlete.

The next day, it was making headlines everywhere, saying the two countries may have amended ties after all these years.

However, the Chinese world champion teammates were worried about Zhuang’s bold move. At that time, backslapping with an American was seen as illicit.

“I asked Zhuang what he was thinking at the moment. And he replied, it had nothing to do with politics. It was merely a conversation between two athletes, between the Chinese and American people,” said the former coach.

Later that year, the U.S. team was invited on a friendly tour of China, the first such interactions since 1949.

After that came former U.S. president Richard Nixon’s landmark visit in February 1972.

The exchange went back and forth, just like playing ping-pong.

In April 1972, the Chinese delegation kicked off a return visit to the U.S. One stop was at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Former coach Zhang said they were the first sports team ever to play inside the UN headquarters.

Dubbed the ping-pong diplomacy, the exchange ultimately helped the two countries establish diplomatic ties in 1979.

“After China and the U.S. improved their relations, more countries began to establish diplomatic ties with China. I’m very proud of being a ping-pong player, and glad to see this sport making contributions to China’s foreign affairs,” said Zhang.

Like former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai said, as small as it is, ping-pong has set the world in motion.

“Ping-pong is the people’s sport, so should be international relations. If it works for society and for the world, then let us set aside our differences and be a big family,” said Zhang. — Reuters

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Taiwan not intimidated by Chinese military drills -Tsai

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (Photo: Taiwan Presidential Office)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – President Tsai Ing-Wen said her government is not intimidated by China’s military drills which a senior U.S. official described as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region.

On Monday (April 15), China’s People’s Liberation Army said its warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft had conducted “necessary drills” around Taiwan, saying the movement was part of a routine.

“As president, I want to tell you that Taiwan is not intimidated. These actions only serve to strengthen our resolve. Our military forces have the capacity, determination and commitment to defend Taiwan and not allow coercion to dictate our own future,” Tsai said in her speech during a forum co-hosted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mark the 40th anniversary of Taiwan-U.S. ties under the Taiwan Relations Act.

Tsai revealed that the Trump administration had notified Taipei of its third arms sale to Taiwan and the training of pilots at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona which she said are measures so important to Taiwan’s national defense.

“I will reiterate here as well, that we will not give up even one inch of our sovereign territory, we will always insist on our democratic freedom,” she said.

The event was attended by a delegation led by Paul Ryan, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who criticized China for not renouncing use of force to achieve its goal of unification.

“These kinds of things should stop, they are irresponsible and they undermine the framework that has enabled peace and stability and development for decades. It’s counterproductive,” Ryan said.

The visit by U.S. officials comes just weeks after Tsai said the United States was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales to bolster its defenses in the face of growing pressure from China.

The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and it is the self-ruled nation’s main source of arms. (REUTERS)

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One of four most endangered turtles died in China

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Photo: Reuters

The last-known female Yangtze giant softshell, one of the most endangered turtles in the world, has died in Suzhou zoo on Saturday (April 13).

The female turtle was about 90 years old when she died after a round of artificial insemination. It was her fifth round since 2008.

Chinese local media reported that the female turtle was in good medical condition. The fertility procedure reportedly went well but she unexpectedly died the next day.

She was transferred to Suzhou zoo from Changsa Ecological Zoo 11 years ago to pair her with the male Yangtze giant softshell.

Chinese and foreign experts are currently investigating the cause of death.—Aileen Cerrudo

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Chinese vessels on PH seas an attack on PH sovereignty—Palace

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo FILE PHOTO: China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

Malacañang considers the presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea as an attack on the country’s sovereignty.

Aside from the Chinese vessels sighted near Pag-asa island, there are also Chinese vessels sighted near Koto and Panata island.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, once the report is validated it will be included in the diplomatic protest against China.

“Then we will object to their presence. We already filed a diplomatic protest and that applies to everything, anything that concern Chinese vessels in our territory,” he said.

READ: Phl files diplomatic protest vs presence of Chinese vessels near Pagasa Island

Salvador also said that the Palace is against the presence of these Chinese vessels and insists that they should leave the West Philippine Sea.

“They will know that we are against it. That we will not allow it. That we will not tolerate such presence in our territory. They have no business being there. It is if they continue to be present to our territory then it is an assault to our sovereignty,” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs already submitted a diplomatic protest against China regarding the presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island.

READ: Duterte tells China: Back off from Pag-asa Island

President Rodrigo Duterte also said he will not allow Chinese vessels to occupy Pag-asa Island. Duterte is also prepared to apply stronger measures if there are Filipino fishermen or soldiers affected due to the presence of Chinese vessels.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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