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Chinese President Makes Pit Stop in Alaska on Return to China

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, listens to Alaska Governor Bill Walker at a meeting Friday April 7, 2017, in Anchorage, Alaska. At left is Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan. Xi requested time with Gov. Bill Walker Friday night as the Chinese delegation's plane made a refueling stop in Alaska's largest city following meetings with President Donald Trump in Florida.

After a couple of days of high-profile talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a refueling stop in Alaska Friday night, using the time to meet with Alaska’s governor.

Alaska Governor Bill Walker welcomed Xi to Alaska in the state’s largest city, Anchorage. The two went on a brief sightseeing tour and spoke about Alaska’s trade ties with China.

``We have tremendous potential in our oil and gas, tourism, fish, air cargo and mineral resource industries,'' Walker said in a statement issued before the meeting.

Xi requested the meeting with Walker, who used the time to tout Alaska’s abundant natural resources and advocate for a gas pipeline that would facilitate export to China.

China bought nearly $1.2 billion worth of Alaskan goods in 2016, according to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, making it the state’s largest export market.

Chris Hladick, the commissioner of Alaska’s Commerce Department, told The Associated Press the meeting was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”