Thursday, January 26, 2012

All Iowans have a friend in China

When China's vice president Xi Jinping visits the United States next month, he plans to make a special and personal trip...to Iowa.

AFP explains why Mr. Xi has a kinship with the state and its people.
When Xi visits the United States in mid-February, he will return to the Midwestern state to reunite with Iowans he met on his first visit to the United States in 1985 when he was a low-ranking local official on an exchange.
"He was very pleased with the very friendly, warm reception he received in Iowa and he really feels a kinship and friendship with the people of Iowa," Governor Terry Branstad told AFP.
Branstad visited Beijing last year to invite Xi. He said the vice president received him at the Great Hall of the People for an unusually long 50 minutes and revealed that he had saved the itinerary from his 1985 trip.
"The first thing he said was, 'I was in your office in Des Moines on April 26, 1985,'" said Branstad, a Republican who has been elected governor five times.
"Obviously Iowans made a very good impression on him," Branstad said. "I think coming to Iowa symbolizes that he wants to focus on cooperation."
Xi, who will receive a White House welcome from President Barack Obama on February 14, will travel the following day in Iowa starting in Muscatine, the Mississippi River town he visited as a county official from Hebei province.
TIME magazine suggests the topic of agriculture is sure to be discussed.
China has long tried to maintain self-sufficiency in grains, but the growing demand for meat has pushed up its imports of corn and soybeans. Despite its own bumper harvest, China made large purchases of U.S. corn last year, and record U.S. exports of agricultural commodities last year have helped keep unemployment lower in big farming states such as Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas.
The Wall Street Journal takes a closer look at Mr. Xi's entire trip, noting that later this year he is expected to be named president.

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