China’s President Xi visits American high school

World Today

Chinese President Xi Jinping poses with football players and a football he was given during a visit to Lincoln High School, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Tacoma, Wash. Xi is on the second of a three-day trip to Seattle before traveling to Washington, D.C., for a White House state dinner on Friday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Chinese President Xi Jinping was presented with a football jersey when he visited Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, on Wednesday.

The school’s football team, the Abes, presented Xi with a customized No. 1 jersey bearing his name.

A detail of a football jersey bearing the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen as it is gifted to him by members of the Lincoln High School football team during a visit by Xi to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

A detail of a football jersey bearing the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen as it is gifted to him by members of the Lincoln High School football team during a visit by Xi to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

In return, Xi invited 100 students to visit China next year. He also brought books, ping pong balls, and tables as gifts.

To welcome Xi, the students sang “In the Field of Hope,” a song Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan is known for when she was a professional singer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (front 2nd R) listens as Lawyer Milloy (R), a former NFL player and Lincoln High School alumnus, explains American football while Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan (L) and Tacoma mayor Marilyn Strickland (2nd L) watch a football demonstration during a visit to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

Chinese President Xi Jinping listens as Lawyer Milloy, a former NFL player and Lincoln High School alumnus, explains American football while Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan (L) and Tacoma mayor Marilyn Strickland (2nd L) watch a football demonstration during a visit to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

During a classroom visit, Xi emphasized the importance of China-U.S. relations, and told the students that “people-to-people exchanges play an essential part.”

Twenty-two years ago, XI, who was then an official in Fujian Province, had visited the town of Tacoma to ink a sister city relationship with the city of Fuzhou. The Mayor of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland, has played a major role in maintaining that relationship.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses students near a display of gifts, including ping pong equipment and educational materials about China, during a visit to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses students near a display of gifts, including ping pong equipment and educational materials about China, during a visit to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

“Since 1994, both cities have held cultural, education and business exchanges. To date, Tacoma has hosted more than 30 delegations from Fuzhou,” Strickland said.

Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan (2nd L) listens to Chinese President Xi Jinping speak to students during a visit to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan (2nd L) listens to Chinese President Xi Jinping speak to students during a visit to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder

Following the visit, Strickland’s husband, Patrick Erwin, who is the principal of the school, said, “I believe that we’ve impressed the president, and more students will come (to our school) next year.”

Xi’s visit to the school is part of his tour of the west coast of the United States before he heads to Washington D.C.


A school tour 22 years ago and now

During his trip to Washington State, Chinese President Xi Jinping turned out to be a big hit with students, especially at Lincoln High School in the city of Tacoma, just an hour south of Seattle. As Mark Niu reports, many students say it was a win-win experience they’ll never forget.

A school tour 22 years ago and now

A school tour 22 years ago and now

During his trip to Washington State, Chinese President Xi Jinping turned out to be a big hit with students, especially at Lincoln High School in the city of Tacoma, just an hour south of Seattle. As Mark Niu reports, many students say it was a win-win experience they'll never forget.