Obama will travel with her daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, and visit China from March 19 to 26.
“During the trip to China, as on previous international trips to Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the First Lady will be focusing on the power and importance of education, both in her own life and in the lives of young people in both countries,” said the White House in a statement.
“She will also be visiting important historical and cultural sites in China, and will share with students in the U.S. the stories of the students she meets in China, as well as interesting facts about China’s history and culture — emphasizing the importance of students learning from one another globally,” the statement continued.
Obama will be in Beijing from March 20 to 23, in Xi’an on the 24th and in Chengdu on March 25-26.
“During her trip, the First Lady will meet with Madame Peng, the spouse of China’s President Xi Jinping. She will also visit a university and a high school in Beijing, and a high school in Chengdu,” the White House added.
In a message to American students, the first lady encouraged them to follow her trip, highlighting the growing business and educational ties between the U.S. and China.
“It’s critically important that young people like you learn about what’s going on not just here in America, but around the world,” she said. Obama said that she would be filing a travel diary during her visit and taking questions from American students to their Chinese counterparts.
President Obama has made a "pivot to Asia" a centerpiece of his foreign policy efforts, believing that U.S. trade ties with the region will be crucial in this century. But many of those initiatives have been overtaken by instability in the Middle East.
The president's push for a trans-Pacific trade partnership though has stalled and in recent months, tensions have risen between China and close U.S. ally Japan over disputed islands.