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China-US relations

Donald Trump’s granddaughter plays diplomat once more as she sings for ‘Grandpa’ Xi Jinping

Six-year-old is star of the show as leaders and their wives drink tea at the Forbidden City in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 November, 2017, 9:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 November, 2017, 11:22am

She might be only six years old, but Arabella Kushner played her diplomatic role perfectly again on Wednesday as she helped ease the interaction between two of the world’s most powerful men – Chinese President Xi Jinping and her grandfather, US President Donald Trump.

As the two state leaders drank tea at the century-old Bao Yun Lou, a former library building in the Forbidden City in Beijing, Trump showed Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan a video of the youngster on his tablet singing a Chinese song and reciting poetry in Mandarin, Xinhua reported.

In a video released on the news agency’s social media platform, Arabella opened her performance with an affectionate greeting for the Chinese head of state and his wife.

“Hello, Grandpa Xi. Hello, Grandma Peng,” she said.

The eldest child of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner started learning Mandarin from her Chinese nanny when she was just 16 months old, according to earlier reports.

Xi said her performance was “A+” and called her a “little star”. He also said he hoped she could visit China soon.

The child’s first diplomatic role was in February when she and her mother made a surprise visit to the Chinese embassy in Washington to take part in Lunar New Year festivities.

During Xi’s visit to the United States in April, she sang and recited poetry – again in Mandarin – for Xi and Peng at the Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida.

Trump’s three-day visit to China began with a visit to the Forbidden City in downtown Beijing, the political and ceremonial heart of China’s government for almost 500 years.

After touring the three main halls of the former imperial compound, Trump and his wife Melania, along with China’s first couple, watched a Peking opera performance.

At the end of the show, the children involved in it shouted: “Welcome to China! I love you,” according to a report by Associated Press.

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Xi formally welcomed Trump to Beijing, and thanked him and his family for the “warm reception” he and Peng received on their visit to the US earlier in the year, Xinhua reported.

Wu Xinbo, director of the Centre for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said “family” had been a key element of Xi’s trip to Florida in April.

Back in Beijing, Melania Trump looked a little unsure at times as she tried to negotiate the cobbled pathways of the Forbidden City, according to reporters on the scene.

“Melania, in stilettos, is walking very carefully,” Bloomberg’s White House correspondent Jennifer Jacobs said on her Twitter feed.

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She also reported a minor accident among the press contingent, when a US photographer broke his camera and sunglasses after tripping on a cobblestone.

China is Trump’s third stop on his first Asia-Pacific tour after Japan and South Korea. Before arriving in Beijing, the president tweeted that he “very much looked forward to meeting and being with President Xi”.

The US president will stay at the St Regis in the embassy area of Beijing east of the Forbidden City. The hotel and many other premises have been closed to the public.

“The hotel is closed for eight days from Monday for special events,” a security guard said.

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A sign on a nearby Japanese restaurant read: “To coordinate the security work by the country and welcome the visit by the president of a certain nation, the restaurant will suspend its operations from November 6-11.”

Melania Trump is expected to visit Beijing Zoo on Friday morning and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall later the same day. As a result, both attractions will be closed to the public. The zoo, however, will reopen to the public in the afternoon.