Kitty Felde |

"Go" diplomacy to be used with China's President Hu?

President Obama has a dinner guest this evening: the President of China, Hu Jintao.  It's just an informal dinner tonight, with the big state dinner and full diplomatic press later in the week.

The White House has apparently included some unusual guests in the official welcoming ceremony on Wednesday: members of the American Go Association. 

Go is a 4,000 year old board game played with black and white pebbles.  It's more popular in China than Angry Birds is to smart phone users in the US.  You can read and hear more about it here:

When President Obama visited China last year, he brought President Hu a present: an American-made Go board and glass bowls, plus Go stones donated by American Go professional (yes, there are some folks making a living by playing this game!) Feng Yun. 

Go enthusiasts say the game itself could serve as a metaphor and help US/Chinese relations.  In Go, the best strategy utilizes the long view, with ongoing trades between players rather than all out victory as the goal.

It wouldn't be the first time odd sports were used to break the ice with China.  Remember "ping pong diplomacy"?  That was back in 1971 when an American table tennis team received an invitation to come to China to play.

Those games led to a thawing of the relationship between the US and China and President Nixon's trip there in 1972.

Somehow though, "Go diplomacy" sounds more like a cheer than the clever name of a political strategy.