China's leader-in-waiting to meet Obama at White House

February 14, 2012 07:22

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will hold talks on Tuesday that could help boost the international stature of Beijing's leader-in-waiting while testing Obama's ability to balance thorny US-China diplomacy with election-year pressures.

Taking his biggest step onto the world stage at a time of growing economic and military rivalry between the two nations, Xi will have a chance to show he is capable of steering his country's crucial relationship with Washington.

Chinese officials have carefully choreographed Xi's US visit as a rite of passage in China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition. He is expected to become head of the ruling Communist Party later this year before taking over the presidency in March 2013.

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