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Xi's "tea time" in Muscatine rekindles 27-year-old friendship

By Wu Liming, Qian Tong and Rong Jiaojiao (Xinhua)

09:28, February 17, 2012

MUSCATINE, the United States, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Muscatine, a small city in rural eastern Iowa, entered its "China time" on Wednesday when Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping came to chat and drink tea with his old American friends.

Xi, who stayed at the homes of Muscatine residents 27 years ago and now is on a five-day visit to the United States, traveled from Washington to join a dozen of his old acquaintances for tea and conversation at a reception in a house in the Iowa farm community.

Most of the people at the reception were friends Xi made during a 1985 visit to Iowa as a member of an agricultural research delegation. The Chinese vice president, then a local official from China's northern Hebei province, stayed and dined in the homes of local residents.

Wednesday's reunion was held at a house that Xi visited 27 years ago. Sarah Lande, who owned the house and was one of the organizers for Xi's first trip, hosted the gathering.

When Xi entered the house, all of his old acquaintances became greatly excited to see him and enthusiastically shook hands with the Chinese vice president.

Each of Xi's old acquaintances wore a button on their coats that reads "We Muscatine Feel Great."

Sitting near a burning fireplace, with several Chinese paintings on the wall, Xi and his old friends cheerily recalled the old days.

"When I see you today, I feel as if I came back to 27 years ago. I feel the kindness of all of you," Xi said. "You are the first Americans I have ever met in my life. For me, you are my first impression of the United States."

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