Lavish US state dinner held at White House for Chinese President Xi Jinping | News | DW | 26.09.2015
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Lavish US state dinner held at White House for Chinese President Xi Jinping

In a rare state dinner at the White House, Chinese President Xi Jinping was guest of honor with his wife Peng Liyuan. Among the 200 guests were technology, media and finance executives.

Maine lobster and Colorado lamb were served at the black-tie state dinner at the White House in Washington for the visiting Chinese president on Friday.

Asian influences were significant throughout the menu, including lychee sorbet. The guest chef, Anita Lo, is a first-generation Chinese-American from Birmingham, Michigan.

Seated with Obama and Xi at the head table were Apple CEO Tim Cook, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Other technology executives included Oracle's Larry Ellison and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. Former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger were also present.

Other guests included media and entertainment celebrities such as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Robert Iger head of the Walt Disney Company, Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks Animation and Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theater.

The finance industry was represented by Ajay Banga of Mastercard, Stephen Schwarzman of investment firm Blackstone and Larry Fink of Blackrock among others.

Michelle Obama wore a black, off-the-shoulder mermaid gown created by Chinese-American designer Vera Wang.

A 16-foot silk scroll with two roses was on display that the White House said was meant to symbolize "a complete meeting of the minds."

Differences

As he made a toast honoring his guests, Obama said while some differences were inevitable, he wished that the American and Chinese people may "work together like fingers on the same hand in friendship and in peace."

For his part, Xi said his state visit had been an "unforgettable journey" and appreciated the goodwill he had felt from the west coast to the east.

Earlier in the day, Obama had expressed concern for human rights in China and said he had reached a "common understanding" with Xi on curbing economic cyber espionage. But Obama also threatened to impose US sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cyber crimes.

For his part, Xi repeated China's denial of any government role in the hacking of US corporate secrets. He said bilateral cooperation was the best way to address the problem and not to "politicize this issue."

jm/lw (AP, Reuters)

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