As reported by Moni Basu from CNN, when the man destined to become China’s next leader enters a circa 1866 Victorian house in Muscatine, Iowa, on Wednesday, things will feel familiar. It was here in the town’s historic district that Xi Jinping first feasted on Iowa beef and corn during a visit more than two decades ago.
Wednesday, the menu is a tad more upscale — crostini with tenderloin, spring rolls and bacon-wrapped scallops. And the excitement, decidedly more palpable.
After all, back in 1985, Xi was a provincial official from the hog-farming region of Hebei, Iowa’s “sister state.” He wanted to see how Americans raised their livestock and learn about different applications of corn, said Sarah Lande, owner of the Victorian and host of Xi’s visit.
“I think at that time in particular, not many people from China had come to our state and our side had not seen many Chinese people,” she said. “So it was very exciting for all of us. We wanted to learn more about each other.”
She would have been thrilled to have another Hebei province official visit quiet Muscatine. She’s honored and humbled that Xi chose to see his old friends again.
In the United States for a five-day visit, Xi, who is widely expected to become the next Communist Party leader and president of Asia’s economic powerhouse, met Tuesday with President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials in Washington.