The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

Next Chinese president will arrive in the U.S. today

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MCT) — Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping arrives in the United States today for a high-profile visit where he’ll be honored as if he were the president of China — the post he’s expected to take next year.

Xi Jinping, 58, is to assume leadership of the Communist Party later this year, a final rung before ascending to the top of the political ladder in March 2013. And with China now firmly positioned as the world’s second-largest economy and closing fast, the relationship between the United States and China has become more important than ever in the past decade. As such, the eyes of two countries will be on Xi this week as he tries to pass leadership tests on each side of the Pacific.

Xi begins Tuesday by meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, and then Cabinet officials before time with President Barack Obama. He’ll have lunch at the State Department with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and then go to the Pentagon to visit with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, before wrapping up the day at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

On Wednesday, Xi travels to Iowa, which he visited in 1985 as a low-level government functionary and stayed with a family in the town of Muscatine. He’ll spend time with Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who coincidentally was governor back then. The Chinese vice president will spend Friday in Los Angeles, where he’ll meet again with Biden and visit schoolchildren learning Chinese.

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