WASHINGTON: With basketball in hand, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan found himself the center of attention at the end of the first round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue on Tuesday.
The basketball, complete with Barack Obama's autograph, was a gift from the US president and was viewed by the Chinese delegation as a symbol of the US government's hospitality and its gratitude to Chinese officials for agreeing to host the next dialogue, in Beijing.
Vice-Premier Wang Qishan holds a basketball given to him by US President Barack Obama in the White House July 29, 2009. Wang was in Washington to take part in the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which ended on Wednesday. [Agencies]
During his closing speech, Dai, who co-hosted the 'Strategic Track,' hailed the "in-depth, broad, candid, and productive" discussions between the nations and expressed the Chinese delegation's appreciation of the work carried out by the US in hosting the dialogue.
He also said the Chinese team will make every effort to ensure Obama's visit to China this year will be a success.
It was not the first time basketball took center stage during the two-day meeting.
During his speech on Monday, Obama, who is a well-known basketball fan, quoted Chinese NBA star Yao Ming.
"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,'" the president said at the time.
"Well, through the constructive meetings that we've already had, and through this dialogue, I'm confident that we will meet Yao's standard," Obama said.
China Daily - Xinhua