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China: President's U.S. Visit Historically Significant

Washington, 23 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - China says the visit of its president, Jiang Zemin, to the United States next week has both realistic and historic significance.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Yu Shuning told Washington reporters yesterday that Jiang's visit is the first by a Chinese president to the U.S. in 12 years. He says the main purpose is to advance the development of Sino-American relations.

Jiang is to begin his U.S. tour in the Pacific Ocean island state of Hawaii on Sunday. From there he will travel to the historic city of Williamsburg in Virginia, not far from Washington, The Chinese leader is due in Washington on Tuesday.

There will be a formal White House welcoming ceremony for Jiang on Wednesday before Jiang meets with President Bill Clinton. The two presidents are scheduled to have a press conference after their talks. On Thursday, Jiang is to meet U.S. Congressional leaders and then deliver what the Chinese Embassy calls a major speech before the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

From Washington, Jiang will go to Philadelphia, and on Friday, he will visit the stock exchange in New York. On Saturday, Jiang will make another speech at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He will conclude his trip with a stop in Los Angeles in California.