|Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd L) and his wife Peng Liyuan (1st L) meet with U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (C) in Beijing, capital of China, March 21, 2014. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)|
BEIJING, March 21 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said he was looking forward to a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in The Hague, Holland.
The meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit next week will be the first between the two presidents this year.
Xi also welcomed Obama to attend the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Beijing in November.
Xi made the remarks during a meeting with the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, in the company of his wife Peng Liyuan, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in downtown Beijing.
Noting the China-U.S. relations were very important to both countries and the world, Xi said he cherished "the sound working relationship and personal friendship" he had already established with President Obama.
He added that they keep close communication through meetings, phone calls and letters, and believes bilateral ties would keep moving forward towards a new type of relationship with joint efforts from both sides.
Xi welcomed Michelle Obama to visit China and asked her to convey his greetings and best wishes to President Obama.
Conveying her husband's greetings to Xi, Michelle Obama said it was rare for her to travel overseas with her mother and daughters, especially to China.
She also thanked Xi for meeting her and Peng's invitation, as well as China's warm reception.
On Friday morning, Peng, Michelle Obama, her daughters Malia and Sasha and her mother Marian Robinson visited the Second High School attached to Beijing Normal University, a model senior high school in Beijing.
In the school, the two first ladies joined students' robot, Chinese calligraphy and table tennis classes, in which Michelle Obama watched students build robots, then tried to write Chinese characters with an ink brush, followed by table tennis.
Peng also took a brush and wrote a four-character Chinese aphorism on virtues and gave it to Michelle Obama as a gift.
Michelle Obama told Xi and Peng in their meeting that she encouraged her daughters and U.S. youngsters to know more about other countries' tradition and culture.
There are many U.S. students learning Chinese or studying in China. Youth engagement was very important for U.S.-China relations, she said.
Xi spoke positively of the focus Michelle Obama put on education. He said China had a tradition to respect teachers and attach importance on education. Education bears on a nation's future and the youth is the hope for a nation.
He hailed the rapid development of China-U.S. educational exchanges and called on young people of both countries to broaden their vision and knowledge, and enhance mutual understanding and friendship through exchanges.
Peng said China and the United States, having different culture and education, could learn from each other. She hoped more U.S. people to learn about China's time-honored history, civilization and development.
After the school visit, the two first ladies went to the Forbidden City.
Michelle Obama said her first day including exchanges with Chinese students and the Forbidden City was unforgettable.
She is scheduled to deliver a speech at Peking University on Saturday and visit the Great Wall on Sunday.
Michelle Obama will also visit Xi'an in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, an ancient city known for its museum of Terra Cotta Warriors, and Chengdu in southwest Sichuan Province, the hometown of pandas.
Xi wished Michelle Obama and her family a happy and unforgettable time in China.
Michelle Obama started her seven-day China visit on Thursday afternoon. She will conclude the visit on March 26.