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Sports exchanges help build a bridge

By An Baijie in Helsinki and Li Xiaokun in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-07 07:53

'22 Winter Games could be a good place to expand upon relationship

President Xi Jinping, whose Finland visit comes right after the Nordic country hosted the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships, received a special gift on Wednesday - sportswear sent by skaters' representatives from Finland and China.

The president and his wife, Peng Liyuan, as well as Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and his wife, Jenni Haukio, met with representatives of athletes from the two nations who attended the figure skating championships, which were held in Helsinki from March 29 to April 2.

All members of the Chinese figure skating team, as well as their coach, autographed the sportswear that the team sent to the two couples.

"Among these names, there might be many future Olympic champions," Xi said.

He congratulated Finland on the success of the figure skating event and commended the athletes for their excellent performance.

Xi said sports exchanges are an important bridge for promoting the China-Finland friendship, adding that China has a lot to learn from Finland, which excels in winter sports.

The two nations should take the opportunity of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in winter sports, in order to promote sports development and the health of the people in both countries, he said.

Niinisto said Finland is willing to share its experience and deepen cooperation with China in winter sports and games preparations. He added that Finland supports China in hosting a successful Winter Olympics.

The People's Republic of China participated in its first Olympics in 1952, when Finland hosted the Summer Games in Helsinki.

Before that, the Olympic Committee of the PRC was not recognized by the International Olympic Committee. However, Finland, which established diplomatic relations with China in 1950, expected China to attend the Games and urged the IOC to invite China.

The Chinese delegation was warmly welcomed in Finland, and the national flag of the PRC was raised for the first time at an Olympics site.

In a joint declaration on Wednesday, China and Finland also vowed to use the opportunity of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing to promote exchanges in winter sports.

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