Friday November 10, 2017
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US first lady Melania Trump poses with a panda plushie after visiting the panda enclosure at the zoo in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. — Reuters pic US first lady Melania Trump poses with a panda plushie after visiting the panda enclosure at the zoo in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. — Reuters pic BEIJING, Nov 10 — As US President Donald Trump left Beijing bound for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam today, first lady Melania stayed behind to play tourist, viewing pandas at the zoo and visiting the Great Wall of China.

At the Beijing Zoo, the 47-year-old former model fed a giant panda named Gu Gu and learned about his nutrition and training.

She greeted a group of school children waving miniature Chinese and American flags, handing out stuffed toy eagles after watching the children sing a Chinese folk song in front of the panda enclosure.

In the Gallery


  • US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, November 3, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US President Donald Trump stands with his head bowed after he and first lady Melania Trump placed a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 3, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US first lady Melania Trump poses with Japan’s first lady Akie Abe, alongside Ama divers, during their visit to the Mikimoto Pearl head shop in Tokyo’s Ginza district November 5, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US first lady Melania Trump and Japan’s first lady Akie Abe (not pictured) visit Kyobashi Tsukiji elementary school in Tokyo November 6, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US first lady Melania Trump talks with Japan’s Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo November 6, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump arrive for an official dinner thrown in their honour by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo November 6, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania are welcomed by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and South Korea’s First Lady Kim Jung-sook at the Blue House in Seoul November 7, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US first lady Melania Trump, in high heels, sits in the front row as US President Donald Trump and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in hold a joint news conference at the Blue House in Seoul November 7, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the National Cemetery in Seoul November 8, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US President Donald Trump and US first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing November 8, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US first lady Melania Trump and China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan watch as US President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing November 9, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania arrive for the state dinner with China’s President Xi Jinping and China’s first lady Peng Liyuan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 9, 2017. — Reuters pic

  • US first lady Melania Trump visits Beijing Zoo November 10, 2017. — Reuters pic

“Thank you very much,” she said.

Melania then signed a panda print, writing: “Thank you to the Beijing Zoo! Wonderful to meet Gu Gu! Melania Trump”.

Melania will later today visit the Mutianyu section of the more than 20,000km long Great Wall, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

As with previous first ladies, Melania has used her platform to champion public causes such as the prevention of childhood bullying and combating the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Playing a prominent supporting role on the president’s multi-leg Asia visit, she gained traction on Chinese social media with netizens comparing her with China’s glamorous first lady Peng Liyuan and remarking on the apparent ease with which she navigated the ancient cobblestones of the Forbidden City in super-high stilettos upon their arrival in Beijing on Wednesday.

Accompanied by Peng, Melania watched a cultural performance, painted pandas and participated in a cooking class at a primary school on Thursday.

Many on China’s Twitter-like Weibo praised Melania’s grace and sense of style - as well as her cultural sensitivity.

While in China, she largely appeared in austere coats and dark gowns from Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen, in contrast with the magenta Delpozo outfit and electric-blue heels she wore upon landing in South Korea days before.

But most in China said they remained bigger fans of their own first lady, who is often referred to affectionately online as Peng Mama, which roughly translates as Mother Peng.

“I still think Mama oozes more grace, while also exuding a motherly air!” one Weibo post said.

Chinese social media sites are typically policed even more heavily than normal during important political events, with negative or sensitive comments swiftly blocked or removed by internet censors.

As Donald Trump departed Beijing today, he said on Twitter that his wife’s next stop after China would be Alaska where she would “greet our AMAZING troops”.

However, Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka, who is very popular in China, did not accompany her father in Beijing, to the disappointment of her Chinese fans. — Reuters

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