Chinese State Council Information Office Minister
ZHAO Qizheng and Party Visit Konnichian

By invitation of Urasenke, Chinese Minister ZHAO Qizheng of the State Council Information Office, People's Republic of China, and his entourage made a short visit to Kyoto from May 17, 2002, after ending their official business in Tokyo, where they participated in a Japan-China Media Symposium. Minister Zhao's position is comparable to that of the Chief Cabinet Secretary in Japan.
   The party of seven arrived in Kyoto in the evening of May 17, and were greeted by SEN Soshi at a welcome dinner which he sponsored.
   On May 18, at 11:00 A.M., they came to Konnichian, where SEN Soshi prepared tea for them in the Totsutotsusai tearoom. May is the month of the ancient Aoi Festival in Kyoto, and so the room decorations and tea utensils focused on this theme. The tea bowl was one having the name "Treasure-coming," which SEN Soshi chose to use in order to express his hope that the friendship between Japan and China will progress. Afterwards, they moved to the Yushinken room, which offers the comfort of benches and tables.
   Minister Zhao showed that he was deeply impressed by the Japanese chado tradition. He stated that once he was back in China he would try to convey to the Chinese people the spirit of this tradition, which represents the essence of Japanese culture.
   When it was time for the party to depart Konnichian, SEN Soshi exchanged a firm handshake with Minister Zhao and each of the others. Diplomatic relations between Japan and China are recently experiencing a time of difficulty. The visit of Minister Zhao and his entourage to Kyoto and Konnichian helped to underscore the positive value of cultural exchange between the two countries.