On 7 August 2017, ‘Soong Ching Ling Cup’ China-ASEAN Youth Football Friendly Matches, jointly sponsored by China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF), Chinese Football Association (CFA) and ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), opened in Qinhuangdao. Mr. Wang Jiarui, Vice President of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of China and Chairman of CSCLF, Mr. Hang Yuanxiang, Party Secretary and Vice Chairman of CSCLF, Mr. Zhang Ruishu, Mayor of Qinhuangdao city, H.E. Mr. Piriya Khempon, Ambassador of Thailand to China, Mr. Li Yuyi, Vice President of CFA, Mr. Zheng Qingdian, former Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ms. Huang Ying, representative of ACC Secretary-General and Director of General Affairs and Coordination Division of ACC, representatives of ASEAN Embassies to China, officials from the Department of Asian Affairs of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, youth football teams from ASEAN and China and representatives of students from primary and middle schools of Qinghuangdao, hundreds in total, attended the opening ceremony.
Vice President Wang Jiarui declared the opening of the 2017 ‘Soong Ching Ling’ Cup Youth Football Friendly Matches. Vice Chairman Hang Yuanxiang and H.E. Ambassador Piriya Khempon delivered remarks on behalf of the sponsors and the ASEAN teams. Vice Chairman Hang welcomed ASEAN teams. He said that this year marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. In recent years, China and ASEAN have conducted close cooperation for common development which has led to a gratifying result of interconnected interests, profound friendship and shared future. He hoped that this event could help increase friendship between China and ASEAN youth, enhance people-to-people understanding and maintain friendly cooperation of the two sides. H.E. Ambassador Piriya Khempon said that people-to-people connectivity and cultural exchanges are the foundation for ASEAN-China relations. Last year, the first ‘Soong Ching Ling Cup’ ASEAN-China Youth Football Friendly Matches was held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations and left fond memories among young players from both ASEAN and China. The matches held this year, against the backdrop of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, will further enhance friendship and strengthen the development of ASEAN-China relations.
Representatives of Chinese teams and the ASEAN teams represented by a Lao PDR player also delivered remarks at the opening ceremony. The Chinese representative welcomed the ASEAN teams and hoped to take this chance to learn from each other and enhance mutual understanding and friendship. The ASEAN representative expressed heartfelt thanks for the kind invitation from the organizing committee and hoped that the interaction between the Chinese and ASEAN teams will enhance the friendship among the youth and improve football skills of the players.
After the opening ceremony, Vice President Wang Jiarui, H.E. Ambassador Piriya Khempon and the guests from both China and ASEAN watched the first match between China and Lao PDR teams. The matches lasted from 7 to11 August. Ten teams from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Chinese Team A and Team B participated in the event. On 12 August, ASEAN teams will also be invited to attend cultural exchange activities in Beijing.