President Obama to meet with Chinese leader next month in Rancho Mirage

POSTED: 11:24 AM PDT May 21, 2013 
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

The mayor of Rancho Mirage said today that he "welcomes" the meeting of President Barack Obama and Chinese President  Xi Jinping next month at the city's Sunnylands estate.

"We will greet President Obama and China's President Xi Jinping with the same careful planning and decorum as we have always manifested when welcoming dignitaries," Mayor Richard Kite said in a statement. "We know that the leadership of Sunnylands will host an excellent meeting. It is our hope that the meeting will result in a strengthened positive relationship between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China."

The White House announced Monday that Obama and Jinping will meet at Sunnylands June 7-8 for "in-depth discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues." The world leaders "will review progress and challenges in U.S.-China relations over the past four years and discuss ways to enhance cooperation, while constructively managing our differences, in the years ahead," according to a White House statement.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement today saying that the two presidents "will have an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. It is believed that this meeting is important to the long-term, sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations as well as regional and international peace, stability and prosperity."

Kite said Rancho Mirage "is accustomed to welcoming our nation's chief executives and foreign leaders." Every president from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton has visited Rancho Mirage "for both business and pleasure," he said.

Gerald and Betty Ford also lived in the city for 28 years, he said.

The June summit will be Obama's first meeting with Jinping since he became president of China in March. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon will travel to Beijing next week to prepare for the meeting, according to the White House.

Sunnylands is the desert estate of the late U.S. Ambassador Walter Annenberg and his wife Leonore. The estate has hosted presidents, foreign heads of state, Supreme Court justices and celebrities. Sunnylands opened to the public last year.