Michelle Obama rolls out soft diplomacy in China

Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school in Beijin that prepares students to attend colleges overseas, Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)

BEIJING — Michelle Obama was greeted here first by clear air and a blue sky, a rarity and coincidence that locals celebrated. And second by President Xi Jinping and his wife, and Obama’s counterpart, Peng Liyuan, who hosted Obama for the day.

Xi met Obama Friday evening before the two first ladies had dinner and watched a traditional Chinese cultural performance at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, which is used by Chinese officials to host visiting heads of state.

"I cherish my sound working relationship and personal friendship I already established with your husband," Xi told Obama through a translator, and also noted that he and President Obama stay in close touch between phone conversations and correspondence.

It was Obama's first time meeting Xi, and the cap of a busy first day in China. She began her day with Peng, who has been called China's first real first lady, at Beijing Normal School, a high school that prepares its students for study abroad.

More here.

Krissah Thompson began writing for The Washington Post in 2001. She has been a business reporter, covered presidential campaigns and written about civil rights and race. More recently, she has covered the first lady's office, politics and culture.
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