Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama to Meet His "Chinese" Family

Obama is going to meet his half-brother, who lives in Shenzhen, this coming week while he's in China.

From The Telegraph:

US President Barack Obama hopes to meet his half-brother Mark Ndesandjo and his sister-in-law during his first official visit to China. Ndesandjo and his Chinese wife live in Shenzhen - a southern city neighbouring Hong Kong - and plan to fly to Beijing to meet his famous relative.

"It will be the first time for Mark to introduce his wife to President Obama," a spokeswoman for AmCham in South China said.

Ndesandjo told China's state-run Xinhua news agency that he wanted his wife, who is from the central eastern province of Henan, to meet the US president as "she is one of Obama's loyal fans".

Ndesandjo, son of Obama's late father and his third wife, Ruth Nidesand, also said that he was delighted that the president was taking the opportunity to see China for himself during his first visit to Asia.

"I am very glad that he is coming here himself to experience Chinese culture," he was quoted as saying.

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Last year about this time, I heard a lot about Obama's "Chinese brother" from my Chinese co-workers and friends. At first, I didn't know what they were talking about. But then I learned about Ndesandjo. Obama's relationship to Ndesandjo and Ndesandjo's relationship to China are, indeed, unique.

I think that this personal connection to China could help Obama's relationship with the country. Such ties to a place undoubtedly change one's perceptions. Of course, there's a lot that goes into the relationship between China and the US and such a connection isn't going to have that much influence. But it could have some.

As I've said many times, I'm confident that the US/China relationship is going to be the most important bilateral one going forward. Obama seems to be doing a good job so far towards China (China's still buying US debt, tensions relatively low, etc.) in a very turbulent time and I hope that such can continue.

1 comment:

Ramesh said...

Obama has all the right guanxi - relatives in Kenya, half brother in China, middle name to establish an Ismalic connection. Lucky guy !!

You are right - Sino US relations will be the most important of all (at least economically) in the decade to come.