Before Beer Diplomacy, It's Basketball Diplomacy

(Official White House/Pete Souza)
As we all know by now, tonight is the much-anticipated White House meeting between President Obama, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley.

But before Mr. Obama gets down to that "Beer Diplomacy" he engaged in some "Basketball Diplomacy" with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. He was in Washington for two days of meeting on economic and foreign policy with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and others.

The White House released the above picture of the meeting on Tuesday, where Mr. Obama presented the vice premier with an autographed basketball. It looks like the president is giving Wang some pointers for his jump shot.

This wasn't Mr. Obama's only basketball reference during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. In remarks to the opening session, the president quoted NBA star Yao Ming, who is from China.

"No matter whether you are new or an old team member, you need time to adjust to one another," Mr. Obama quoted Yao saying. He added that he was "confident that we will meet Yao's standard."

It was almost 40 years ago when the world was introduced to the concept of "Ping Pong Diplomacy" as the U.S. and China began to establish diplomatic relations. Now, it appears Mr. Obama plans to reach out through the game he loves.

See Also in Hotsheet:

"In Foreign Policy, Obama Turns to Sports Heroes" by Mark Knoller
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