Wen Jiabao

Great Hall of the People almost used as baseball field

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 December, 2007, 12:00am

The Great Hall of the People nearly became a baseball field briefly when Premier Wen Jiabao jokingly suggested a game of catch with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday.

As he sang the praises of Mr Wen's ice-thawing trip to Japan in April, Mr Fukuda reminded him of a request that he had yet to respond to.

'When Mr Wen visited Japan in April, I asked when we could meet for a game of catch again, and I haven't heard any answer from you,' Mr Fukuda said at their meeting.

Mr Wen, who wooed the Japanese by playing catch and batting at Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University at the end of his trip, immediately said: 'Let's find some time to bat again.'

'Actually we can play here,' Mr Wen joked. 'This room is big enough.'

A tight schedule and intense meetings with Mr Wen, President Hu Jintao and National People's Congress Standing Committee chairman Wu Bangguo - failed to faze Mr Fukuda, who used his quick wit to win laughter from students in a visit to Peking University.

Mr Fukuda will continue his four-day visit today with breakfast with Mr Wen and members of the Friendship Association. He will also visit a primary school in Beijing before heading for Tianjin , where he will tour an economic zone.