March 21 - Michelle Obama kicks off a visit to China in the company of her Chinese counterpart Peng Liyuan. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION U.S. first lady Michelle Obama kicked off her first day of visit in Beijing on Friday (March 21), accompanied by her Chinese counterpart Peng Liyuan. Obama arrived at Beijing's international airport on Thursday afternoon (March 20) with her mother and two daughters, in a trip aimed at promoting education and cultural exchanges between the world's two giants. On Friday morning Obama, a Harvard-educated lawyer, and China's charismatic first lady Peng visited Beijing Normal School. Obama's trip is expected to steer clear of controversial issues such as human rights during the week-long visit to China, but her trip could also help advance a top item on her husband's foreign policy agenda to deepen ties between Washington and Beijing. After an intial meeting between Peng and Obama, the U.S. first lady operated a robot with Chinese students and she also tried using traditional Chinese brush to write. She then played table tennis with a teacher. Obama said her husband always played in the U.S.. Later on Friday morning, Obama and Peng paid a visit to the Palace Museum, known as the Forbidden City. She also plans to visit American and Chinese students to promote education and cultural exchanges, and visit historical landmarks like the Great Wall of China. Besides Beijing, Obama will visit the western historic city of Xi'an and the southern city of Chengdu, where she will visit a panda preserve. A Xinhua commentary said the trip was "especially meaningful" given tensions in the U.S.-China relationship, including President Barack Obama's recent meeting with the Dalai Lama, whom China sees as a violent separatist.