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Chinese VP Set for Return Visit to Iowa

Current Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, top row, during a 1985 visit to the U.S. town of Muscatine, Iowa. Sarah Lande, who will host him this year, is seen in the center of the front row. Courtesy of the Muscatine Journal.

When Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visits the United States next week, he will stop in Washington DC for a talk with President Barack Obama as well as Los Angeles. But he will also visit the small city of Muscatine in the Midwestern state of Iowa.

It will not be Xi’s first visit to Muscatine. In 1985, as the leader of a delegation studying pig-raising techniques, he visited the city and stayed in the homes of several residents and dined in the homes of others.

Listen to Ira Mellman's interview with Sarah Lande.

When Iowa’s governor Terry Branstead visited China recently, he invited Xi back to Mustcatine. The offer was accepted.

Sarah Lande, whose home was one of those visited by the Chinese official in 1985, will be hosting a tea for Xi next Wednesday in her home.

She told VOA Xi was warmly received in 1985 with something she calls “Iowa Nice.”

That, she said, involved treating him like “one of the family.” She said they took him for a ride along the Mississippi River, which runs past Muscatine, and he visited a nearby farm.

Lande said they talked about each other’s cultures, what she termed “a real rich experience.”

She said she thinks next week’s trip will serve as an example to the United States and China of how building friendships and cooperation can bring good rewards and be a “win-win” for both sides.