2014-03-21T121713Z_1_CBREA2K0Y4Q00_RTROPTP_2_CHINA-USA

Michelle Obama pushes soft diplomacy on visit to China

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State guest house in BeijingBy Megha Rajagopalan BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. first lady Michelle Obama met her Chinese counterpart on Friday, a long-anticipated encounter during a week-long trip to promote education and cultural ties. Obama, who is visiting China with her mother and two daughters, is expected to forgo discussion of trade, human rights and the tangle of other issues that have weighed on U.S.-China relations. The trip to China comes days before U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to begin bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Hague on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit next week. Earlier, Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan accompanied the visitors on a visit to the Beijing Normal School attended by elite Chinese students and American teenagers from prestigious schools such as Exeter, Andover and Sidwell Friends on study abroad programs.

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