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Before Xi Jinping flew to the U.S., his foreign minister promised a “people first visit” that would showcase the Chinese president’s “extensive outreach to the American people.”

The aim of the trip, which included a state visit to Washington bookended by tours of tech companies in Seattle and an address to the United Nations, was two-fold: To present Xi as the strong leader of a rising economic and military power, while highlighting the softer side of a man who runs a Communist juggernaut that some neighbors and the U.S. view with wariness.

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