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FIRST LADY SUMMIT: U.S.-China relations could get a boost when the two first ladies of the West and East meet in China later this month. The White House said Monday that First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to China March 19 to 26 and meet with the first lady of China, Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, while also visiting schools and historical and cultural sites. Obama will visit Beijing March 20 to 23, Xian on March 24 and Chengdu from March 25 to 26.

Obama, who plans to give daily updates about her trip to China on a White House travel blog intended for U.S. students and classrooms, said she will also visit a university and a high school in Beijing and a high school in Chengdu during her visit. The First Lady will make the trip to China without President Obama, but will be accompanied by her daughters, Sasha and Malia, and her mother, Marian Robinson.

“With more than 1.3 billion people, China is the most populous country on earth and it plays an important role on the world stage,” Obama said in a White House blog. “My husband and I take the time to visit countries like China because we know that today more than ever before our lives here in America are connected to the lives of people around the world. Companies here in America do business with and compete with companies across the globe. With the click of a button, you can connect with kids on every continent, and last year alone more than 283,000 American high school and college students studied in more than 190 different countries…and no matter what country we live in, we’re all facing so many challenges — from ensuring that students get a good education to fighting poverty, hunger and disease, to addressing threats to our planet like climate change.”