Governor Branstad is releasing new details about what China’s vice president will be doing when he visits Iowa next week. Vice President Xi Jingping will be Branstad’s guest at elaborate state dinner inside the capitol building in Des Moines on Wednesday, February 16.

“This is probably far and away the biggest, most significant event that we’ve had during the time that I’ve been governor,” Branstad told reporters this morning. “I would say it ranks with the pope’s visit to Living History Farms, (former Soviet Leader Nikita) Khruschev’s visit here to Iowa in 1959. Those were great events. This one, I think, for the economic future of our state could be even more significant.”

Vice President Xi will arrive in eastern Iowa first for a reunion with some of the people he met in 1985 when he was on a sister-state exchange trip to Iowa. He’ll then fly to central Iowa for a private reception in the governor’s office, followed by a formal dinner with all of Iowa’s top officials, including legislators and judges. Branstad met with the Chinese leader during a trade trip to China this fall.

“We see this as very significant and the fact that we have this relationship with the future leader of China, I think, is a very positive thing for our state,” Branstad said.

AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference, where he discussed Xi’s trip.

 Other details of the trip are still being worked out, but Vice President Xi may visit an Iowa farm during his stop here, before he jets off to Los Angeles. The governor indicated security will be tight for Xi’s visit, and a “protest zone” will likely be set up a few blocks away from the statehouse. Go to www.radioiowa.com to hear more about the visit and what Branstad plans for it.