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Diplomat: First Lady Diplomacy: The Message to China

Author: Wei Zongyou
March 19, 2014

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"The dilemma of Obama's rebalance to Asia is that it must reassure allies and friends of U.S. commitment, without causing serious concerns or suspicions from China. In that context, Michelle Obama's weeklong trip to China may serve as a rebalance to her husband's rebalance."

At the invitation of China's First Lady Peng Liyuan, her U.S. counterpart Michelle Obama is visiting China from March 19 to 26. This is Obama's first visit to China, and also the first meeting between Obama and Peng. During the week-long trip, Obama will visit Beijing, Xi'an, and Chengdu, together with her two daughters. The White House said, Obama's message on the trip will focus on education and cultural ties between the two countries.

Michelle Obama's visit to China was announced after U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Asia in April, which will take in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. Given this context, the first lady's visit to China will send a powerful diplomatic message, even though she will steer clear of any political or hard issues.

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