Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama Tours Forbidden City

BEIJING — Millions of people come here to look at the delights of the Forbidden City. Now add President Obama to that list.

Mr. Obama, his hands jammed into the pockets of his distressed brown leather jacket to ward off the frigid Beijing temperatures, took a moment out of his day of meetings to check out the storied old residence of China’s former imperial leaders.

Situated just behind Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City was called “forbidden” because normal people weren’t allowed in, the better to conceal how well the rulers were living. Apparently there is now a new “forbidden city,” where China’s present leaders live, and normal people don’t go in there much either.

But we digress. Mr. Obama arrived around 2:15, and was escorted by the Forbidden City Museum director, Zheng Xinmiao, and a cast of, well, a lot of people: the senior advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, and the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. NYT
I'll post video when it's available. Watch a Chinese reporter talk about Obama's visit here.
Obama's schedule for today and tomorrow and next up, South Korea:
On November 17, Obama will hold a bilateral with Hu, followed by a joint press conference, after which he will sightsee in Beijing. There will be a state dinner that night.

On November 18, Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, and do more sightseeing, before traveling to South Korea.

November 18-19 - SEOUL

Obama arrives in Seoul the night of November 18. The morning of the 19th, he holds a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, after which the two will hold a press conference.

Obama will then meet with U.S. troops stationed in Korea, before leaving on his trip back to the United States, where he is scheduled to arrive early on November 20. Reuters
Where U.S. and China agree and disagree. Gibbs says it best:

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is blustering about how Obama shouldn't be bowing. I can't believe that showing respect and to our allies is even being discussed. Those with REAL power and might don't have to belittle others. But Dick wouldn't know anything about that. His ego is so large that he can't see how he helped bring the nation to tatters. If I were him, I'd do a little soul searching. But noooooo. Then Liz Cheney has to taunt everyone with the suggestion that her father might run for president and worse, it could be a Cheney Palin ticket. I'm sure she was mostly jesting but the thought of that makes me nauseous.