Mean no disrespect to Hamid Ansari, but if he were to ever visit the US as a state guest, his reception is likely to be less effusive than the one that awaits Chinese vice-president Xi Jinping.
But Ansari is not the leader-in-waiting of the world's most populous nation with the highest rate of growth and, to a country in economic crisis, the source of trouble. Xi arrives here on Febraury 13, late in the night. And he begins his meetings the next day, which is Valentine's Day, raising questions if he will start a relationship that Hu Jintao failed to develop.
Xi is expected to assume leadership of the communist party this fall, and the presidentship of China next spring.
In a briefing Friday, White House officials said they expect little from the the visit except getting to know the man who will be a "central figure" in Chinese politics for years to come.Xi will be vice-president Joe Biden's guest, who will be reciprocating the reception he received last August. Biden wil be by Xi's side most of latter's time here.
The future China president will meet President Barack Obama on February 14 and everyone will be clocking it for signs of a lasting relationship.