Chinese VP wraps U.S. visit at Lakers game

Feb. 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- China's vice president was on his way to Europe this weekend after a five-day visit to the United States, Beijing announced Saturday.

The United States was the first stop for Vice President Xi Jinping on a tour that also includes stops in Ireland and Turkey, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Xi, who is anticipated to be the next leader of the Chinese government, met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during his stay in the United States. He also visited a town in Iowa and swung by Los Angeles before jetting off.

The Los Angeles Times said Xi's quick stop in the city of angels included catching the fourth quarter of Friday's NBA game at Staples Center between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California Gov. Jerry Brown.

As happened during his other stops, Xi was dogged by pro-Tibet protesters, one of who was ejected from the stands by stadium security after unfurling a banner reading "Tibet will be free," the newspaper said.

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