A dose of 'soft diplomacy' during Michelle Obama's trip to China

euronews (in English)

by euronews (in English)

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America’s first lady Michelle Obama has arrived in China with her mother and two daughters for the start of a much-anticipated week-long trip.

Beginning in Beijing, the visit will be used to promote education and to strengthen cultural ties between the world’s two largest economies.

She will spend part of the tour with her Chinese counterpart, Peng Liyuan.

But, the White House has stressed her trip will be “non-political” and she is expected to avoid more sensitive topics, such as trade and China’s human rights record.

As well as indulging in the popular national pastime of ping pong, the first lady is likely to visit the Great Wall of China and will give a speech at the Stanford Centre at Peking University during her trip.

China’s official news agency Xinhua said the tour was “especially meaningful”, given tensions in relations between the two countries.

Michelle Obama also met Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

Although hard political discussion may not be on Michelle Obama’s agenda, she is expected to attempt to build goodwill through soft diplomacy.