President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Beijing on Aug 30, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
President Xi Jinping announced the start of the basketball tournament Friday night at the opening ceremony, where his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, also appeared. Basketball has provided a common language that brought the two leaders closer together.
As an enthusiastic sports fan, Xi has promoted friendship and cooperation with other countries and international organizations through sports. Here are some of the best moments in Xi's sports diplomacy.
President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchange team uniforms and take a group photo with players participating in a friendly Sino-Russian youth ice hockey game in Tianjin on June 8, 2018. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]
China will continue to expand sports exchanges with Russia, especially in ice hockey, to strengthen bilateral ties, Xi said, adding that the friendships between youths of the two countries were inspiring.
President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel watch a friendly football match between Chinese and German youth teams in Berlin, Germany, July 5, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
China wants to enhance soccer exchanges and cooperation with Germany in order to raise its game on the world stage, Xi said.
President Xi Jinping and his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto meet skaters' representatives from the two countries in Helsinki, Finland, April 5, 2017. The athletes just attended the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki. [Photo/Xinhua]
Xi noted that sports exchanges are an important bridge in promoting the China-Finland friendship, saying that China has a lot to learn from Finland as the Nordic country excels in winter sports.
President Xi Jinping and the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach look at the Olympic medals during a visit to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jan 18, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
China will seize the opportunity of the Winter Olympics to promote sports and improve health among the general public, Xi said, adding that hosting such an event will also push forward the Belt and Road Initiative, which he proposed in 2013.
President Xi Jinping, accompanied by then-Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK, visits the City Football Academy in Manchester, UK, Oct 23, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
Xi, a well-known football fan, called for more exchanges and cooperation between China and Britain on football as well as other sports. Compared with other sporting activities, football has spread across a wider range. Garnering the largest number of fans, football has broad influence and is deeply loved by people all over the world, said Xi.
President Xi Jinping holds a dinner banquet to welcome foreign guests to attend the opening ceremony of the second Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Aug 16, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
The youth Olympics are not only games where young people can show their skills in sports, but also a platform for cultural exchanges that belongs to all the young people in the world, said Xi.
Xi said every youngster that participates in the games can be a "goodwill ambassador" who promotes understanding, friendship and cooperation between different nations, which will help to lay a solid social foundation for friendly interactions among countries and build a harmonious world featuring permanent peace and common prosperity.