Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vice President Biden Hosts Dinner For China's Vice President Xi Jinping

Top Administration officials fete the next President of China at the Naval Observatory; the guest list and menu...
While President Obama was enjoying a quiet Valentine's Dinner with his wife on Wednesday night, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were celebrating love bonds of a different kind: Those between the United States and China. The Second Couple hosted an elegant dinner at the Naval Observatory for Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, with Cabinet Secretaries and senior presidential advisors mingling with the Chinese Delegation. (Above: Biden offers a toast during the dinner)

The event was complete with a military cordon lining the long driveway for Xi's arrival and world class musical performances. In line to be the next President of China, Xi, 58, was feted with a three-course menu that replicated a formal dinner at the White House, where steak is always the star: Beef Tenderloin accompanied by Delaware Crab Cakes, a nod to the Bidens' homestate, and seasonal vegetables, regionally sourced. Dessert was a pear confection.

Dr. Biden was clad in a glittering sheath and the Vice President was in a dark suit as they welcomed the special guests, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commerce Secretary John Bryson, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, National Economic Council director Gene Sperling, and President Obama's top advisor, Valerie Jarrett, as well as the official delegation from the People's Republic of China (full list below).

Geithner and Panetta were seated at the Head Table with the Bidens and Xi. Centerpieces were red and pink roses in baskets, and the tablecloths were a muted red.

Xi's visit is the second of the planned reciprocal visits between the Vice Presidents announced by President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao during President Hu’s State Visit to Washington in 2011; Biden visited China last August. The dinner capped a day of meetings at the White House with the President and Vice President as well as stop at the Pentagon and the US Chamber of Commerce. In between, there was a State Department luncheon for 200 guests co-hosted by Secretary Clinton, featuring a menu by acclaimed Chinese American chef Ming Tsai. (Above: The two Vice Presidents in the Library before dinner)

Xi, a former agriculture representative for his nation, first visited America 1985, and his tour of the United States this week includes a stop in the small Iowa town where he spent time as a young communist party official. Then he'll visit California, accompanied by Biden.

Following dinner, guests were treated to a performance by award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Sam Haywood, who played three selections from Gershwin, Chopin and Pablo de Sarasate. (Above: The Bidens flank Xi in the front row, watching Bell perform)

Dinner Menu In Honor of Vice President Xi Jinping

Delaware Crab Cakes
Corn salad, Macho and Basil Tartar Sauce

Balsamic Marinated Beef Tenderloin

with balsamic shallot sauce
Wild Rice and Orzo Pilaf

Roasted Root Vegetables in Ancho Honey Glaze

Packed Pears with Tulle

Finer Pear Sorbet

The wine selections were American:


*Hall Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2010
*Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Nappy Valley 2009

Above: the Vice President and Dr. Biden greet Xi as he arrives.

The Full Guest List:


The Honorable Tony Blinken, Deputy Assistant to the President & National Security Advisor, Office of the Vice President

The Honorable Lael Brainard, Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, Department of the Treasury

The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, The Supreme Court

The Honorable John Bryson, Secretary, Department of Commerce

The Honorable William J. Burns, Deputy Secretary, Department of State

The Honorable Kurt M. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, State Department

Madame Chen Naiqing, Spouse, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United States, The People's Republic of China

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary, Department of State

His Excellency Cui Tiankai, Vice Foreign Minister, The People's Republic of China

Ms. Deng Ying, Deputy Director General of the Protocol Department of MFA, The People's Republic of China

The Honorable Tom E. Donilon, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, Office of the National Security Advisor

The Honorable Michael B. Froman, Assistant to the President and Deputy NSA for International Economic Affairs, National Security Council

His Excellency Gao Hucheng, China International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce, The People's Republic of China

The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary, Department of the Treasury

His Excellency Han Changfu, Minister of Agriculture, The People's Republic of China

The Honorable Valerie Bowman Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, White House

The Honorable Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, Office of the United States Trade Representative

The Honorable Gary Faye Locke, U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China

Mr. Lu Kang, Deputy Director General of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of MFA, The People's Republic of China

Mr. Ma Jisheng, Deputy Director General of the Information Department of MFA, The People's Republic of China

The Honorable Leon Panetta, Secretary, Department of Defense

The Honorable Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, State Department

His Excellency Shi Zhihong, Vice Minister of Policy Research Office of CPC Central Committee, The People's Republic of China

The Honorable Gene Sperling, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council

The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Department of Agriculture

Mr. Wang Qing, Deputy Director General of the Central Guard Bureau, The People's Republic of China

His Excellency Xi Jinping, Vice President, People's Republic of China

Mr. Xie Feng, Director-General of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of the MFA, The People's Republic of China

His Excellency Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, The People's Republic of China

His Excellency Yuan Guiren, Minister of Education, The People's Republic of China

His Excellency Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice Chairman of NDRC, The People's Republic of China

His Excellency Zhang Yesui, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United States, The People's Republic of China

Mr. Zheng Yi, Political Counselor, The People's Republic of China

Mr. Zhong Shaojun, Secretary of the Vice President, The People's Republic of China

Mr. Zhou Xingbing, Security Secretary of the Vice President, The People's Republic of China

His Excellency Zhu Guangyao, Vice Minister of Finance, The People's Republic of China

Joshua Bell's bio provided by the Vice President's office:
Joshua Bell has enchanted audiences worldwide with his breathtaking virtuosity and tone of rare beauty, earning him the title “classical music superstar.” An Avery Fisher Prize recipient and Musical America’s 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year, Bell is the Academy of St Martin in the Fields’ newly named Music Director. Bell came to national attention at age 14 in his debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Most recently, he has recorded the sound track for Zhang Yimou’s World War II epic film Flowers of War, China’s largest film production. Bell performs on the 1713 ex Huberman Stradivarius.

Sam Haywood bio provided by the Vice President's office:
Sam Haywood is a critically acclaimed British pianist whose performances have thrilled audiences worldwide. He frequently collaborates with Joshua Bell. Haywood began playing the piano at age four, inspired by evenings listening to crackly LPs of Beethoven Sonatas with his grandmother. Following his success at age thirteen in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, he received the Isserlis prize from the Royal Philharmonic Society and later studied with Paul Badura-Skoda, and at the Royal Academy of Music with the late Maria Curcio, a pupil of Artur Schnabel.

*White House photos by David Lienemann; arrival photo by pool