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Xi gives A+ to Trump’s granddaughter for mastering Mandarin

During an informal meeting, President Donald Trump used a tablet computer to show Xi Jinping a video of his granddaughter Arabella singing in Mandarin.

world Updated: Nov 09, 2017 12:24 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis, Beijing
Xi Jinping,Beijing,Trump's Asia tour
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan in Beijing on Wednesday. (AP Photo)

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 without even being in China.

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

During their first meeting after reaching 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,” Xinhua, the official news agency, reported.

Not only the Xi but China’s online users loved it as well. Within hours of Xinhua uploading the video, it had been liked, shared and commented on more than 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”.

According to the Newsweek website, 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 song Jasmine Flower and recited Chinese poetry for Xi 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,” the website wrote.

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 honor of President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan’s official visit to the US!” Ivanka wrote on Twitter.

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 “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 (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”.

Trump and his wife Melania arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for a three-day state visit, the first by the US president.

He wants to drum up an uncompromising, global front against the nuclear weapons ambitions of the “cruel dictatorship” in North Korea. The Trump administration sees Beijing as the key to controlling North Korea, which depends on China for its economic survival and for 90% of its trade.

He also plans to use the trip to press Xi on China’s massive trade surplus with the United States, which slightly fell in October to $26.6 billion, according to official Chinese data released on Wednesday.

First Published: Nov 08, 2017 21:22 IST