Obama cites that great Chinese philosopher, Yao Ming

Basketball fan Barack Obama opened his speech to a Washington meeting focused on building a strategic and economic dialog with China by citing an unusual philosopher – Yao Ming, the seven-foot, six-inch Chinese-born star of the Houston Rockets basketball team.

“I have learned from the words of Yao Ming,” Obama quipped in his speech to the gathering at the Ronald Reagan Building, a couple of blocks from the White House. “No matter whether you are a new or an old team member, you need time to adjust to one another,” Obama quoted Yao Ming as saying. “Through the constructive meetings that we have already had, and through this dialog, I am confident that we will meet Yao’s standard,” Obama said.

A largely hopeful view

The President went on to outline a largely hopeful view of the prospects for relations between China and the US. But he added that, “I have no illusions that the United States and China will agree on every issue, nor choose to see the world in the same way.”

Obama ended by quoting a more traditional philosopher, Mencius, born in 372 BC and a major figure in Confucianism. The reference came as Obama outlined the need for continued dialog between the two nations. “A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time.”

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