Barack Obama to meet Chinese President, sans Michelle

Last Updated: Friday, June 7, 2013 - 09:01

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will on Friday meet in California to discuss trade and cyber attacks.

It is the Chinese President’s first official visit to the US since he assumed office in March.

Some Chinese are, however, disappointed that first lady Michelle Obama won’t be on the trip.

The first lady’s office would only say she was staying in Washington to be with family. Monday is younger daughter Sasha Obama’s 12th birthday, and Mrs Obama early on declared herself “mom in chief” and always has said her girls come first.

Friday and Saturday’s summit between Obama and Jinping will take place at Sunnylands, a sprawling desert estate with a private golf course in Rancho Mirage.

Publicly, Beijing is muting any hurt feelings over Mrs Obama’s no-show at Sunnylands. Asked whether her absence was regrettable, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, “Regarding the relevant arrangements on the US side, we respect them.”
But disappointment over Mrs Obama’s absence was palpable if not vehement in some Chinese mainstream and social media. Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan, is a rare commodity in Chinese politics — a popular political spouse known for her style and poise who has been accompanying Xi on his diplomatic travels.

(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Friday, June 7, 2013 - 09:01
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