"I know something about surviving a visit from a President," said the fourth and latest President to visit Beijing.
George Bush, the man of the long resume, has witnessed a presidential visit to Beijing before--but that first time, it was his responsibility as head of the U.S. Liaison Office to make sure that the visit went off without a hitch. The guest at that time was President Gerald R. Ford.
So, when Bush spoke some words of sympathy to the harried employees of the U.S. Embassy here Sunday, he was speaking with the experience of one who has been through the trials of such a visit.
"We had one when I was out here before this was an embassy. And I was sure glad to see him go," the President said.
Bush also reached out to a mass Chinese audience through a live television interview here--unprecedented by an American President.
The U.S. Embassy took care to make sure the audience was as large as possible--an estimated 400 million to 600 million.
Given a choice of three possible times for the interview, 6 p.m. Sunday was chosen by the embassy staff because it precedes by 15 minutes the broadcast of "Mickey and Donald," a package of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons in Chinese.