Ping-Pong Diplomacy

Ping-Pong Diplomacy pic
Ping-Pong Diplomacy pic
Ping-Pong Diplomacy
Image: history.com

The founder and current president of Main Street Engineering, located in Miami, Florida, William Pino was formerly the vice president of Power & Lighting Systems, Inc., also in Miami, where he worked for 14 years. In his free time, William Pino enjoys playing ping-pong.

Very few sports can boast to having created a diplomatic opening between hostile countries. In 1971, while the Cold War was continuing between the West and the communist powers, and the US was embroiled in the Vietnam War, an American ping-pong team was playing a tournament in Japan and was then invited by a Chinese squad to play an exhibition match in China.

These were the first Americans invited to China since the communist takeover in 1949. President Nixon considered this opening to be a great opportunity to thaw relations, and he sent Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to China after the ping-pong match to negotiate a presidential visit. Seven months later, Nixon made the trip, and the meetings were so successful that he called his visit “the week that changed the world.”

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