Chinese VP Arrives in Washington
Xi Jinping, China's next president, to meet with Obama
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2012 12:50 PM CST
President Obama meets with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, Tuesday in the Oval Office of the White House.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The man slated to be China's next president began his US tour today, meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office before having lunch with Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. Biden will serve as Xi Jinping's host in Washington, the New York Times reports. Other stops on the agenda: a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, and a high-level trip to the Pentagon, where he'll get an honor guard salute and meet with Leon Panetta and the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.

The Pentagon trip is a rarity for a civilian official like Xi, though he is a vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission. US officials hope the visit eases military and trade tensions, while building relationships with China's probable future leader—though they don't expect any policy breakthroughs. "Xi Jinping isn't yet the No. 1 official in China, so one likely wouldn't expect him to be breaking new ground," says the National Security Council's China policy chief.