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Premier Li’s wit and quick thinking

Updated: May 28,2015 4:47 PM

Premier Li Keqiang (3rd L front) attends a welcoming ceremony held by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in Santiago, capital of Chile, May 25, 2015. The two leaders also watched a parade of honor guards.

When Premier Li Keqiang was welcomed by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the presidential palace during his latest visit to the Latin American country in May, the sound system that was supposed to play the national anthems broke down.

Amid the awkward silence Premier Li proposed that the guests should sing the national anthems together and even led the Chinese delegation sing the Chinese national anthem.

“Music is unrestrained by national borders and we all understand each other’s songs,” said Premier Li in response to Chilean President Bachelet’s gratitude for his quick thinking and wit.

This was not the first time that Premier Li had used his sense of humor to lighten up supposedly serious diplomatic exchanges.

remier Li Keqiang and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tour the Forbidden City in Beijing.[Photo by Feng Yongbin/Asianewsphoto]

During Premier Li’s visit to India in May 2013, an Indian journalist asked for a another photo right after he had shaken then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s hand and was walking away after saying goodbye.

“It will be the headline in your newspaper?” Premier Li asked humorously, stopping midway. Hearing a positive response from the journalist, Li gave a big laugh and said “once again” as he stretched out his hand for another handshake with Singh.

One day after the headline incident Premier Li was about to deliver a speech on China-India ties, but the sound system broke down and kept making a buzzing noise. “It’s a prelude, indicating that I’m going to make important statements,” said Premier Li smilingly.

When he visited Lanzhou University in Northwest China’s Gansu province in August 2013, a final-year student told Premier Li that he turned down a job offer from a well-known electric appliance retailer. “You actually fired your boss,” said Li.

Premier Li Keqiang gestures during the news conference after the closing session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, March 15, 2015.[Photo/China Daily]

At a press conference following the conclusion of this year’s two sessions in March, a journalist introduced himself as “a reporter with People’s Daily,, and the official Weibo account of People’s Daily” before posing his questions. “(You’re such an important guy that) you have three titles!” said Premier Li, and everybody roared with laughter.

In another instance, a journalist with Associated Press asked his question in Chinese and then repeated it in English. “You translated the question yourself (which is supposed to be the work of the translator), then maybe you should get double pay, too,” said Premier Li.