China's Vice President Xi Jinping begins a four-day visit to the United States Monday amid major challenges in relations between the two countries.
White House officials say the visit by the man expected to become China's Communist Party chief later this year and the country's president in 2013 will cover a wide range of political, economic, security and human rights issues.
On Tuesday, Xi Jinping will begin a day of meetings, including two hours of discussions with his formal host, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and an Oval Office talk with President Barack Obama.
After lunch at the State Department hosted by Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Xi is scheduled to visit with military officials at the Pentagon and then hold talks with American and Chinese business leaders.
China is concerned about the U.S. enhancing its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which is widely seen as a counterweight to growing Chinese assertiveness in the area.
Since Xi is not yet China's head of state, the visit will not likely produce any major breakthroughs in key areas in the relationship, although some business agreements are expected to be announced.
On Wednesday, Xi is due to travel to the midwestern state of Iowa and then to California before returning to China.