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China up close

Xi's new quartet on North Korea has roots in Iowa home stay

Wang Qishan and US ambassador Branstad to be point men in collaboration

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer | China

TOKYO -- When Chinese President Xi Jinping was 31, he led a five-man delegation to the U.S. state of Iowa to study agriculture. It was 1985, and he was the young Communist Party secretary for Zhengding County, a region in Hebei Province known mainly for producing wheat and corn.

The Iowans who arranged the visit had no budget for the group to stay in a hotel, and therefore arranged for them to stay in private homes. Xi spent two nights in the children's room of a middle-class local family, surrounded by Star Trek figures.

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