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Granddaughter diplomacy: Six-year-old Arabella charms the Chinese with her Mandarin

During their first meeting after he reached Beijing, Trump showed President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan a video of Arabella Kushner reciting ancient Chinese poems and singing a song in Mandarin.

world Updated: Nov 09, 2017 14:54 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Arabella Kushner,Trump granddaughter,China US relations
President Donald Trump walks with his granddaughter Arabella Kushner on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.(AP File)

A six-year-old has been able to easily do something the US President Donald Trump is probably not finding to be child’s play: charm the Chinese, and that too without even being in China.

Of course, it helped that Arabella Kushner is Trump’s granddaughter – Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s daughter– but it’s her fluent Mandarin that has impressed China.

During their first meeting after he reached Beijing, Trump showed President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan a video of Arabella reciting ancient Chinese poems and singing a song in Mandarin.

Both Xi and Peng loved Arabella’s Mandarin and Chinese state media released a video of them fondly appreciating the recorded performance.

“Xi spoke highly of the child's Chinese skills and said her performance deserved an A+. He said Arabella was already a child star in China and hoped she would visit China one day,” official Xinhua news agency reported.

Not only the President, Chinese online users also loved it.

Within hours of Xinhua uploading the video, it had been liked, shared and commented on more than a 100,000 times on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

“She is so beautiful. Her Mandarin is better than mine,” wrote one Weibo user.

“The (US) President’s granddaughter is showing to the world; they have to be examples,” said another.

One Weibo user called it “granddaughter diplomacy: another classic in diplomatic history”.

This wasn’t the first time that China’s first family was impressed with Arabella’s Mandarin-speaking skills.

“She sang the popular Chinese folk songJasmine Flowerand recited Chinese poetry forXi and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan when the pair visited Mar-a-Lago in April. At that time, Xi applauded Kushner for her performance and encouraged her Mandarin studies,” said a report in Newsweek website.

According to the state-run Global Times, after Ivanka posted the video of her daughter's performance on her Twitter account in April, it was reposted on Chinese websites, and has been played 19.4 million times on qq.com, a Chinese news portal run by Tencent, receiving 9.9 million clicks on Sina Weibo as of press time. “Very proud of Arabella and Joseph for their performance in honour of President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan's official visit to the US!” Ivanka wrote on her Twitter account.

In the new video, Arabella sings the songs “Our Field” and “My Good Mother” and recited the poem “Look Lushan Waterfall”.

On Wednesday, Xi and Peng escorted the US President and wife around the Forbidden City.

They “walked along the museum's central axis, which is also the axial line of Beijing, and visited Taihedian, Zhonghedian and Baohedian, the three main halls of the Forbidden City,” Xinhua reported.

In front of Taihedian, or the Hall of Supreme Harmony, Xi and Peng took photos with their guests after walking through the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

Taihedian is one of the largest wooden structures in China and the largest hall in the Forbidden City. Emperors of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties held enthronements and wedding ceremonies in the hall.

During the tour, Xi briefed the visiting “couple on the history, architecture and culture of the museum, noting its importance to Chinese history and culture.”

First Published: Nov 09, 2017 14:54 IST