Terry Branstad is technically the U.S. ambassador to China, but President Trump’s 6-year-old granddaughter was the one doing all the charming, with some impressive soft-power diplomacy of her own. On Wednesday, her command of Mandarin was put on display for China’s top leaders — and a growing fan base throughout the country.
During tea between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, POTUS played a video of his granddaughter Arabella (the daughter of Jared and Ivanka) speaking and performing a song in Mandarin for Xi and his wife.
“Hello grandpa Xi. Hello grandma Peng,” Arabella, fully dressed the part as well, begins.
According to China’s Xinhua state news agency, Xi said that Arabella’s command of Chinese was impressive and her performance was “an A-plus.” He added that she already had developed a significant following in China, and hoped that she would soon visit the country again in the future.
The overachieving 6-year-old has reportedly been learning Mandarin since she was a toddler. She and younger brother Joseph performed a Chinese folk song for President Xi when he visited the United States in April.
Some in the establishment media may simply decide to mock the display. However, it’s important to recognize that cultural diplomacy is a very necessary instrument of statecraft that, when implemented correctly, can help achieve national interests.
Now, more than ever, the U.S. needs to bridge the gap with traditional adversaries such as China. The United States and China continue to butt heads over several issues, including territorial disputes in East Asia and an alliance structure that frequently involves Beijing protecting the North Korean regime.
But China is also America’s largest trade partner, and it’s necessary to have a cordial relationship with Beijing in order to foster international and bilateral agreements crucial to both countries’ needs.
President Trump is in the middle of his five-country (Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines), 12-day Asia tour. He will end his trip on Nov. 14 in the Philippines before returning to the White House.
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