US first lady treated to national treasures

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U.S. first lady Melania Trump walks along the Mutianyu Great Wall section in Beijing Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Mrs. Trump toured China’s famed Great Wall at Mutianyu, where she rode a cable car to a watchtower, signed a guestbook and strolled along a stretch of the wall for about half an hour with a small group of aides and security officers. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) – Pandas and the Great Wall were two national treasures taken in by U.S. first lady Melania Trump during her tour of Beijing on Friday, as her husband, US President Donald Trump, wrapped up a state visit to China and headed to Vietnam.

The U.S. president offered a preview, saying in a tweet: “Melania is staying behind to see the zoo, and of course, the Great Wall of China before going to Alaska to greet our AMAZING troops.”

At Beijing Zoo, Melania Trump visited the panda pavilion, feeding a giant panda named Gu Gu and learning about his nutrition and training, according to Reuters.

She sent toy eagles to a group of schoolchildren waving miniature Chinese and US flags in front of a panda enclosure. They also posed for photographs.

The U.S. first lady signed a panda print while she was there, writing: “Thank you to the Beijing Zoo! Wonderful to meet Gu Gu!”

Later in the day, she visited the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in Huairou, a mountainous district in northern Beijing.

The Trumps arrived in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon and spent what the US president described in a tweet as an “unforgettable” afternoon and evening at the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, in central Beijing.

In a number of tweets, Trump voiced his gratitude for China’s hospitality and his hope for stronger U.S.-China ties.

In his first tweet from China on Wednesday, he wrote “THANK YOU” to President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, for the tour of the Forbidden City.

In addition, the US president’s twitter account — @POTUS — retweeted a post by Dan Scavino Jr, the White House director of social media and assistant to the president, that featured a picture of the front page of Thursday’s China Daily.

The page’s main picture features the two presidential couples’ standing in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony of the Forbidden City.

As part of Beijing’s “state visit-plus” treatment for Trump, the welcoming ceremony on Thursday morning featured great details, including 10 US students joining Chinese elementary school students along the red carpet to greet the US president.

“It was a truly memorable and impressive display!” Trump wrote in a tweet, attaching a video clip that included the two presidents waving to the children.

Following a number of official events on Thursday, including talks with Xi and witnessing the signing of deals totaling more than $250 billion, Trump tweeted, “In the coming months and years ahead, I look forward to building an even STRONGER relationship between the United States and China.”

Cui Liru, a senior researcher and former president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the visit “set a major tone” for future development of China-US ties as both sides affirm commitment to cooperation and mutual benefit.

The deals that were signed show that the two nations’ common interests far outnumber their differences, and their progressing cultural exchanges will help address potential frictions or divergence, Cui said.

Zhou Qing’an, a professor of public diplomacy at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said the entire itinerary of the Trumps’ stay in China featured the traditional Chinese pursuit of harmony, which signals Beijing’s hope for long-lasting, stable ties with Washington.

By Zhang Yunbi