On Wednesday, President Obama will welcome President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China for a State Visit to the White House. President Obama extended the invitation to President Hu this summer while both were at the Toronto G20 Summit; it reciprocates President Obama's State Visit to China in November of 2009. He was honored with a State Dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. It will be the eighth time the two leaders have met. (Above: American and Chinese flags decorate light poles in front of the White House, and all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue)
After months of planning, there will be three days of ceremonial, diplomatic and economic events beginning on Tuesday afternoon, with an Arrival Ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base for President Hu. The State Dinner on Wednesday night is the glam social highlight. Below, the schedule of events, as released by the White House and with commentary from ObFo.
See also: Getting Ready for the State Dinner
State Visit, State Dinner Schedule
Tuesday, January 18th
*Andrews Air Force Base Arrival Ceremony
4:00 PM: Vice President Joe Biden will lead the US delegation at the State Visit arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, in honor of President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China. Dr. Jill Biden and the Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Capricia Marshall will also participate in welcoming President Hu and the Chinese delegation.
*President Obama Hosts Private Dinner For President Hu
6:30 PM: In the evening, President Obama will host what National Security Advisor Tom Donilon calls an "unusually small" private dinner for President Hu in the Old Family Dining Room. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donilon will also attend, as will their Chinese counterparts. UPDATE: The photo of the event is here
Wednesday, January 19th - The State Visit
*South Lawn Arrival Ceremony
9:00 AM: President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden will formally welcome President Hu to the White House with an elaborate arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, which will include an honor guard, a troop review, military bands, and brief remarks. Invited guests will watch the ceremony, which will also be attended by Cabinet Secretaries and senior administration officials.
10:00 AM: Oval Office: President Obama and President Hu Jintao will have a small bilateral meeting in the Oval Office. The Vice President will attend.
*First Lady Speaks At Howard University
10:30 AM: Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks to a group of high school and college students to discuss the China State Visit, and the importance of young Americans engaging people around the world and studying abroad. Before her remarks, the First Lady will speak to a student panel in support of the President’s “100,000 Strong” educational initiative.
11:00 AM: Cabinet Room: An expanded bilateral meeting will take place in the Cabinet Room, and include the official US and Chinese delegations.
12: 20 PM: Eisenhower Executive Office Building: President Obama and President Hu will meet for about 45 minutes with U.S. and Chinese CEOS and business executives about investment opportunities between both nations.
*Joint Press Conference
1:05 PM: East Room: President Obama and President Hu will hold a joint press conference. They will each take two questions from reporters.
*State Department Luncheon For President Hu
Vice President Biden and Sec. Clinton will host a luncheon at the State Department in President Hu's honor. The official US and Chinese delegations will attend.
The State Dinner
Guest List, Menu & Decor, Entertainment Details Unveiled
Mid-afternoon: The East Wing will hold a media preview and release all details about the evening. This will include who has been honored with an invitation to the State Dinner, details about the menu that has been created, an explanation of the symbolism of the decor, and the entertainers who may be performing.
State Dinner Arrival Ceremony - North Portico
6:00 PM: Surrounded by a Color Guard, he President and First Lady, joined by Ambassador Marshall, will formally welcome President Hu to the State Dinner, as he arrives via motorcade beneath the North Portico. The President and First Lady will escort President Hu inside the White House. It will be the first glimpse of the Mrs. Obama's gown for the evening.
Booksellers Guest Arrivals
5:30 PM: All other guests for the State Dinner will arrive through the Booksellers entrance of the White House in the East Wing, where they will walk through a scrum of reporters and photographers on their way inside. Guests will be formally announced.
6:30 PM: The President and First Lady will take an official photo with President Hu.
The President, First Lady and President Hu will greet guests in a receiving line in the Blue Room; cocktails will be served on the State Floor.
State Dinner begins - State Dining Room
7:35 PM: There are typically three or four courses for State Dinners, and American wines are served. Both Presidents will make a toast during the dinner.
State Dinner Reception - East Room
8:55 PM: The President and First Lady and President Hu attend a post-dinner recption
The President's Own United States Marine Band will be playing throughout the evening; the band includes the Strolling Strings, who, as their name implies, walk and play stringed instruments. They typically play among the tables during State Dinners. The other entertainment will be announced on Wednesday afternoon, if there is any.
Thursday, Jan. 20th
President Hu Meets With Lawmakers
President Hu will have separate meetings with the leaders of the US House of Representatives and the Senate.
Luncheon In Honor of President Hu
The National Committee on U.S. China Relations, the U.S.-China Business Council and other trade organizations will host a luncheon for the Chinese president. President Hu will make remarks.
President Hu will depart Washington in the afternoon from Andrews Air Force Base. He will travel to Chicago, Illinois, for a series of events there.
Related: At the State Department on Friday, Sec. Clinton delivered a major address on US-China relations in the 21st century. Read the press briefing on the State Visit. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is among the first invitees to publicly announce that she's been invited to the State Dinner. House Speaker John Boehner has declined his invitation. The White House announced the State Visit in December of 2010.