When Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visits the United States next month, I'm sure there will be all sorts of very interesting analysis about the future of relations between the two nations. Xi is widely expected to be named the next leader of China later this year. He is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Feb. 14.
But if I were in America during the trip, Washington would not be first on my list. For my money, Des Moines is the place. The Des Moines Register has reported that during Xi's visit to Iowa on Feb. 15 and 16, the vice president and his large delegation will be lodging at the Des Moines Marriott. The Chinese are said to have wanted to rent the entire hotel but were told they'll have to split it with ... "fans and participants of the Iowa high school wrestling tournament, which will be held that same week."
A blog item at the Register's website quotes the general manager of the hotel as saying,“There was concern about how the two groups would blend together.”
But according to the newspaper's interview with General Manager Terry McLane: "Hotel officials have assured the foreign visitors that all the proper protocols will be followed to keep dignitaries safe – and keep a distance between the two groups."
(I learned of Xi's travel plans from a tweet by Time reporter Austin Ramzy, who wrote a smart blog post on the upcoming Iowa trip: "Why China’s Future Leader Is Going to Iowa")