Obama Ladies Travel to China For A Seven-Day Tour

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First lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha and mother Marian Robinson, arrived in China Thursday evening for a week-long visit that will avoid politics and instead focus on education and cultural ties.

“I’ll be focusing on the power and importance of education, both in my own life and in the lives of young people in both of our countries,” she said in her first post on her travel blog of the trip.

Mrs. Obama will be promoting more subtle “people-to-people relations and steering clear of issues such as human rights, trade and cyber security, according to White House officials.

“Her focus on education and youth empowerment is one that we believe will resonate in China,” Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told reporters ahead of the visit. “We also believe it’s a message that is really fundamentally in the interest of the United States.”

On Friday, she is to spend the day with Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, something which diplomats hope will build bridges between the two countries.

She also plans to visit American and Chinese students to promote education and cultural exchanges.

While the first lady’s primary objective for the trip is to help build a better relationship with China, the itinerary also includes a few tourists stops for the family. The Obamas plan to visit the imperial palace and Great Wall in Beijing and the ancient city walls and the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum in Xi’an. In Chendgu, she plans to visit a panda conservation center.

Meanwhile back at the White House, President Obama  appears to be suffering from empty-nest syndrome as he addressed an audience at the White House.

“Michelle and the girls are on their way to China, it’s very lonely at home,” President Obama said, according to NBC News.

The President also appeared on Thursday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show via satellite where he joked around with the talk show host about breaking his retweet record with the viral Oscars 2014 photo.

“I heard about that,” Barack replied. The 52-year-old politician then joked, “I thought it was a pretty cheap stunt myself. Getting a bunch of celebrities in the background…you feeding them pizza.”

Watch the clip below!

(Photo Credit: Alexander F. Yuan – Pool /Getty Images)