Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping meets Panetta
BEIJING (AFP) - China's leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping, whose disappearance from public view for two weeks this month prompted widespread rumours, on Wednesday met visiting United States (US) Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.
Mr Xi, flanked by several Chinese military officers, shook hands with the Pentagon chief in a frenzy of flashes at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, an AFP reporter saw.
It was Mr Xi's first public meeting with a foreign dignitary since he re-emerged at the weekend having vanished for a fortnight at a highly sensitive time, with China gearing up for a generational handover of power.
The Chinese vice-president looked relaxed and healthy, and wore a dark blue suit with a pale blue tie.