China’s Vice President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to be his country’s next leader, will meet President Barack Obama during a Valentine’s Day visit to the White House next month, officials said.
Xi, who will officially be the guest of his opposite number Vice President Joe Biden on February 14, will also travel to Iowa and California during his visit to the United States, the White House said.
In Washington, Xi “will meet with the president, the vice president, and other senior administration officials to discuss a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues,” a White House statement said.
The visit of Xi will reciprocate a visit by Biden to China last year. Both visits were announced by Obama and President Hu Jintao during the Chinese leader’s visit to the White House a year ago.
Xi’s visit follows Obama’s trip to Asia last year during which China was irked at his intervention on South China Sea territorial issues which Beijing says are bilateral matters between rival claimants in the region.
Washington has been pressing Beijing to allow its yuan to rise to a more market oriented level against the dollar, and accuses Beijing of engineering an artificially low value of the currency to boost its economy.
Xi will also come to the United States during the early throes of the US presidential election race, in which Republican candidates have accused Obama of being intimidated by Beijing on trade and currency issues.
The Chinese vice president is expected to take over from Hu as China’s president and as the head of the Communist Party in a transition that is expected to begin later this year.