From March 20 to March 26 2014, at the invitation of China's first lady Peng Liyuan, Michelle Obama, the first lady of the US, will visit China, accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha and mother Marian Robinson. They plan to visit Beijing, Xi'an and Chengdu. According to the White House, Michelle is looking forward to the meeting. Peng Liyuan and Michelle Obama will visit middle schools, sightsee the Palace Museum, have private dinners and watch performances together.
Peng Liyuan is the first Chinese first lady to invite another country's first lady to visit China. It is no doubt a great initiative, which not only confirms that China has further opened to the world and taken its place in the international community, but also shows a strong confidence to the world.
Michelle Obama is also the first U.S. first lady to visit China unaccompanied since the establishment of Sino-US diplomatic relations 35 years ago, confirming that President Obama attaches great importance to the Sino-US relationship. The visit of Michelle Obama and her family is an innovation in friendly communications between the two first families, and a useful supplement to the communications between the two heads of state.
As exemplified by more diversified communications and more flexible and practical forms, Sino-US relations are generally maintaining a good momentum for the present. The heads of the two countries have established a good working relationship: President Xi Jinping and President Obama will meet during the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague next week. China will host the APEC Summit this autumn and by then President Obama will be present and visit China on invitation. During the G20 Summit in the latter half of the year, the two leaders will have another chance to meet. The frequent communications between them will do much to help the establishment of the new style of relationship between major powers.
According to the American side, Michelle Obama's visit will focus on exchanges of education and culture, which has been fully reflected in the schedule: visiting middle schools in Beijing and Chengdu, giving a speech at Peking University, and visiting the Qin terracotta warriors and ancient city walls in Xi'an.
The meeting of the two outstanding ladies is particularly significant because each of them is a national icon. Michelle Obama made a point of learning some Chinese for this trip, and her daughters are learning Chinese too. This visit by the first family of the US will certainly promote mutual understanding and friendly communication between the two peoples. "First lady diplomacy" adds a brushstroke of bright color to the Sino-US relationship.
The article is edited and translated from《夫人外交：中美关系崭新的一抹靓色量》, source: People's Daily Overseas Edition, author: Ruan Zongze.
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