Chinese and Indonesian first ladies watch folk music performance in Beijing

Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan hosted her Indonesian counterpart Iriana Joko Widodo during a soft power show in Beijing, with the couple watching a folk music performance together.

Peng, a famous folk singer herself, met Iriana at the Diaoyutai State Guest House on Tuesday, with Peng describing China and Indonesia as “important neighbors”, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

“The friendship between the two countries has a long history,” Peng said during the meeting. “We look forward to deepening exchanges between the two countries in all relevant fields.”

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In response, Iriana said Indonesia was eager to welcome more Chinese visitors, according to the report.

The couple met while their husbands, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo, were talking at the state guesthouse – Xi’s first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.

China’s president has engaged in minimal in-person diplomacy during the pandemic, and Peng has mostly stayed away from the public – one of the few times in recent years that she has received guests. strangers.

The last time was during the Winter Games, when she hosted Maria de Lourdes Alcivar, the First Lady of Ecuador, during a Peking Opera performance.

On Tuesday, the two first ladies watched students from the China Conservatory of Music sing a well-known Indonesian folk song – song of the ship – accompanied by roana traditional Chinese stringed instrument.

“Music knows no boundaries and can bring hearts together and convey friendship,” Peng said, speaking to his visitor about Chinese folk instruments, according to CCTV.

“Our two countries share similar cultures, arts and ideas, and we hope that cultural exchanges and mutual appreciation will play a greater role in strengthening the friendship between the two sides,” she said. declared.

Iriana Joko Widodo (left) and Peng Liyuan meet in Beijing. Peng emphasized friendship between nations. Photo: Xinhua alt=Iriana Joko Widodo (left) and Peng Liyuan meet in Beijing. Peng emphasized friendship between nations. Photo: Xinhua>

Peng’s last public appearance was in Hong Kong during a trip with Xi to mark 25 years since the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule on July 1. She visited the city’s Xiqu Center, talking to young Cantonese opera artists and watching them rehearse.

She attended a meeting of the official Chinese Federation of Literary and Artistic Circles in December, when she was re-elected vice president.

And in October, the former army soprano sent a congratulatory note to the American performing arts conservatory Juilliard School on the occasion of the inauguration of its campus in China, the first abroad.

According to a joint statement released after their meeting on Tuesday, Xi and Widodo held “kind and friendly” talks and pledged to strengthen bilateral ties which they said had “great strategic significance and far-reaching global influence. “.

Xi and Peng then hosted a dinner party for Widodo and Iriana.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice journal on China and Asia for over a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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