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Wen plays baseball with Japanese PM
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Premier Wen Jiabao played baseball with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda Saturday morning, following Friday's "heart-to-heart" talks in which they foresaw a coming spring of the China-Japan ties.

Wen and Fukuda had breakfast together ahead of the baseball play at the Diaoyutai State Guest House.

Wearing a red baseball cap and grey sport wear, Wen played a game of throw and catch with Fukuda, a former university athlete, who wore white outfits.

The play was not on Fukuda's tight visit schedule, but an extempore arrangement after Friday's talks between Wen and the Japanese Prime Minister, according to sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Fukuda recalled during the talks that he proposed to play baseball with the Chinese premier after Wen's visit to Japan in April, but had not received reply.

Wen made an immediate response that he would find an opportunity to throw and catch baseballs with Fukuda.

Wen played baseball with Japanese college students during his "ice-thawing" trip to Japan, when he especially wore a No. 35 sport suit to mark the 35th anniversary of the normalization of the China-Japan relations.

Fukuda will visit a primary school in northeastern Beijing after the play before leaving for an economic development zone in Tianjin, home to many Japanese-funded companies.

He will also visit the hometown of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province, before wrapping up his four-day China tour on Sunday.

The China tour was the third overseas trip of Fukuda after he took office three months ago. He visited the United States and Singapore before.

A book on Wen's April visit to Japan, titled Baseball Player No. 35: Wen Jiabao, was published recently in Japan.

(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2007)

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