President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he met briefly with a half brother who lives in China and who recently wrote a semi-autobiographical novel about the abusive Kenyan father they share.
Obama, who spent three days in China during his first official tour of Asia, acknowledged the meeting in an interview with CNN. He offered no details. An aide said later that the meeting took place Monday night after Obama arrived in Beijing, the Chinese capital.
The White House had declined to say whether the president and Mark Ndesandjo would meet. And no White House official mentioned the visit until Obama did when asked about it.
"I don't know him well. I met him for the first time a couple of years ago," Obama told CNN. "He stopped by with his wife for about five minutes during the trip."
Describing the meeting as "overwhelming" and "intense," Ndesandjo told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that he had long anticipated the chance to welcome his famous brother to China.
The two men did not grow up together. Ndesandjo's mother, Ruth Nidesand, was Barack Obama Sr.'s third wife.
President Obama's father had been a Kenyan exchange student who met his mother, Kansas native Stanley Ann Dunham, when they were in school in Hawaii. The two separated two years after he was born. The senior Obama married Ndesandjo's mother after divorcing the president's mother. They returned to Kenya to live, where Mark and his brother, David, were born and raised.