Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to the U.S. next week. The first item on the itinerary is a two-day stopover in western Washington.
President Xi is following in the footsteps of previous foreign leaders with planned visits to Boeing's widebody jet factory in Everett and the Microsoft campus.
“We’re honored that President Xi will see our factory and meet the Boeing employees who worked to deliver a record 155 airplanes to China last year,” Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney said. “China’s rapidly growing aviation market plays a crucial role in our current and future success.”
President Xi will also drop in on a high school government class in Tacoma, host an evening banquet for business and political leaders and be entertained another night at Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' mansion on Lake Washington.
Former Washington governor and ambassador to China Gary Locke co-chaired the planning committee.
“Clearly a lot of the issues Northwest companies have with China -- or even the positive relationships that we have with China -- are in some ways a microcosm of the full U.S.-China relationship,” he said.
Locke said the Seattle stop will be the best opportunity for titans of American business to say their piece.
In a speech Wednesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi Wang described the goals for President Xi's visit.
"President Xi's visit will take China-US cooperation to a new level," he said. "The two sides are expected to reach important agreement in economy and trade, energy, people-to-people exchange, climate change, environmental protection, finance, science and technology, agriculture, law enforcement, defense, aviation and infrastructure development.
Wang added that President Xi "will devote a lot of time to reaching out to people in American cities and states, the business community, friendly groups, and a broad cross-section of American society.”
Following his stay in Seattle, President Xi and his delegation fly to Washington, D.C., for a summit meeting and state dinner with President Obama.