Chinese President Xi Jinping was presented with a football jersey when he visited Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, on Wednesday.
The school’s football team, the Abes, presented Xi with a customized No. 1 jersey bearing his name.
In return, Xi invited 100 students to visit China next year. He also brought books, ping pong balls, and tables as gifts.
To welcome Xi, the students sang “In the Field of Hope,” a song Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan is known for when she was a professional singer.
During a classroom visit, Xi emphasized the importance of China-U.S. relations, and told the students that “people-to-people exchanges play an essential part.”
Twenty-two years ago, XI, who was then an official in Fujian Province, had visited the town of Tacoma to ink a sister city relationship with the city of Fuzhou. The Mayor of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland, has played a major role in maintaining that relationship.
“Since 1994, both cities have held cultural, education and business exchanges. To date, Tacoma has hosted more than 30 delegations from Fuzhou,” Strickland said.
Following the visit, Strickland’s husband, Patrick Erwin, who is the principal of the school, said, “I believe that we’ve impressed the president, and more students will come (to our school) next year.”
Xi’s visit to the school is part of his tour of the west coast of the United States before he heads to Washington D.C.
A school tour 22 years ago and now
During his trip to Washington State, Chinese President Xi Jinping turned out to be a big hit with students, especially at Lincoln High School in the city of Tacoma, just an hour south of Seattle. As Mark Niu reports, many students say it was a win-win experience they’ll never forget.