Monday, February 23, 2009

成语外交 The Proverb Diplomacy

希拉里上任美国国务卿以来由2月20 至22日首次访问中国,美国记者认为成功:‘她来了,她被喝彩了,她征服了。’这次访问被称为‘成语外交’。
First, there was a ‘Ping-pong Diplomacy’, now it is the ‘Proverb Diplomacy’.
Ping-Pong Diplomacy refers to the exchange of ping pong (table tennis) players of the United States and China (PRC) in the 1970s. The event marked a thaw in US-China relations that paved the way to a visit to Beijing by President Richard Nixon from 21 to 28 February 28, 1972.
Hillary Clinton’s first visit to China from 20 to 22 Feb 2009, as the US Secretary of State, was said to be a great success. The US journalists reported: ‘She came, she wowed, and she conquered.’ And her visit is known as the Proverb Diplomacy.
She had used an ancient Chinese saying in a speech in New York before her Asia trip to describe US-China relations: ‘When you are in a common boat, you need to cross the river peacefully together.’ The Chinese media translated it as tong zhou gong ji, a Chinese proverb which is from The Art of War by Sun Tze, an ancient Chinese military strategist.
On 21 Feb, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao praised her for using the Chinese proverb and shared another saying in the book with her: progress together, hand in hand, or xie shou gong jing in Chinese.
That encouraged Mrs Clinton to offer yet another Chinese proverb: ‘You should dig a well before you are thirsty’ or lin ke jue jing, which referring to the need for the two countries to work together on global issues.
Well done, Hillary. You were well prepared this time.
It shows that one of the easiest and best ways to charm in diplomacy is to make references to the other country’s history, poetry or leaders’ quotes.

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