U.S. President William Clinton arrived at the
Xianyang International Airport in Xi'an City at 7:14 this
evening, starting his nine-day state visit to China.
The visit marks another major event after
Chinese President Jiang Zemin's state visit to the United
States last October.
Clinton is the first
incumbent U.S. president to visit China since 1989. It is
also his first special visit to a single country.
The wife of President Clinton, Hillary
Clinton, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright,
Secretary of Treasury Robert Rubin, Secretary of Commerce
william Daley and other members of the president's official
delegation, arrived at the same time.
president, wearing a dark suit and a yellow tie, and Mrs.
Clinton stepped down the ramp at 7:37 p.m. (local time).
They were greeted at the planeside by U.S. ambassador to
China James Sasser and Mrs. Sasser, Deputy Governor of
Shaanxi Province Jia Zhibang and his wife, Chinese
ambassador to the United States Li Zhaoxing and his wife,
and Xi'an Mayor Feng Xuchu.
presented bouquets of flowers to the U.S. president and his
wife, who later posed for a picture with the children.
The motorcade of Clinton left the airport four
minutes later for the south gate of Xi'an, the Yongning
Gate, which is about 40 km away from the airport.
The U.S. President arrived at the Yongning
(Eternal Peace) Gate, the southern gate of the ancient city
wall of the ancient city at 8:39 p.m.
local people were seen along the 40-km road to the gate to
greet the US president. The crowds grew thicker as he
approached the gate.
President Clinton was
greeted by the Shaanxi provincial governor Cheng Andong and
other local officials at a grand ceremony that revives an
ancient parade ritual in honor of distinguished guests, now
a tourist program in the tourist attraction.