35th anniversary of 'Ping Pong diplomacy'

March 25, 2006 at 10:36 PM

BEIJING, March 25 (UPI) -- A U.S. delegation is visiting China on the 35th anniversary of the trip by ping pong players that paved the way for normal relations between the countries.

Sheri Soderberg Pittman, president of USA Table Tennis, heads a delegation of current and retired players, coaches and seven people who witnessed the 1971 trip, Xinhua, the official government news agency, reported.

"Ping Pong Diplomacy" was followed by President Richard Nixon's historic visit in 1972. The ping pong players were the first U.S. group to visit China since the 1949 revolution -- a span of more than 20 years during which the United States treated the regime of Chiang Kai-shek on Taiwan as the legitimate government of China.

The anniversary delegation will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Changsu during a 10-day visit.

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