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Home > News & Policies > Press Secretary Briefings

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 7, 2008

Press Gaggle by Dana Perino
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Beijing, China

5:10 P.M. (Local)

MS. PERINO: We're on our way to Beijing. I'll give you a preview of the next couple of days, as you requested. His visit to Beijing begins with a dedication of the new U.S. embassy compound. That's going to be at precisely 8:08 a.m. tomorrow. The reason for the precise time is because 8 is the luckiest number that the Chinese have in their tradition.

This new compound will allow us to co-locate personnel from more than 20 U.S. government agencies to a single facility. Many notable Americans will attend the dedication, including former President Bush and Dr. Henry Kissinger. The Gatlin Brothers will perform the National Anthem. And they'll also be playing during the program -- I think they have some Olympic activities, as well, that they are performing at. Both of those are pool events.

At noon, the President and Mrs. Bush will attend a social reception, also a lunch, hosted by Chinese President Hu, in the Great Hall of the -- I'm sorry -- the Great Hall in honor of visiting world leaders.

Then at 6:30 p.m., the President and Mrs. Bush will greet the 2008 U.S. Olympic team at Fencing Hall, prior to going to the National Stadium, which is also called the Bird Nest, for the Opening Ceremonies. That will be pool coverage -- meaning their reception -- not necessarily the Opening Ceremonies.

On Saturday, the President's schedule is open to attend Olympic events, to be announced, and somewhere attendance at a reception being held by Ambassador Randt to thank the CEO sponsors of the 2008 United States Olympic team. That is closed press.

On Sunday, the President will attend church in the morning at the Beijing Kuanjie Protestant Christian Church. He'll make a statement to the press pool outside of the church after the service ends. But the writers will be inside the church, as they are at home in the United States when he goes.

At noon, the President will travel to the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound to meet with President Hu. That's where he will have his bilateral meeting with President Hu. And then after the meeting the President and his family have been invited to a social lunch hosted by President Hu and Madam Liu. And after lunch he will meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and then with Premier Wen Jiabao.

Sunday night he will attend a men's Olympic basketball game. And on Monday -- right now I can tell you that the President will attend a U.S.-China practice baseball game. He's going to the practice because the game -- competition doesn't actually begin until after he is back in the States.

That's all I have for you right now.

Q Can you clarify -- tomorrow is pool only, everything?


Q No open events?


Q Even the embassy reception is closed?

MS. PERINO: It says pool here, but I will double-check.

Do you know, Carlton?

MR. CARROLL: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear --

MS. PERINO: Tomorrow morning's embassy greeting, is it open press or pool?

MR. CARROLL: It's open press.

MS. PERINO: It's open press.

Q The embassy opening is open press?

MS. PERINO: Well, the dedication is pool. The opening --

MR. CARROLL: The opening is open press. The embassy greeting is closed press, as usual.

MS. PERINO: Okay. Sorry.

Q Anything that the White House or the State Department is doing in regards to Joey Cheek?

MS. PERINO: As I said yesterday, we démarched our Ambassador in Beijing to express our concern and complaint, and to ask that the Chinese reconsider this. I don't have an update, though. It's slower than we would like, but -- and they're actually running out of time to be able to rectify it, but we continue to press them.

Q Dana, what's your understanding about the lunch tomorrow? Did I hear you right that it's a lunch for foreign leaders --

MS. PERINO: There's like 300 attendees.

Q This is at the Great Hall of the People?


Q It is? Okay.

Q Okay, so other foreign leaders will be expected?


Q And what's the latest you're hearing about coverage of the Opening Ceremony?

MS. PERINO: I don't have anything on coverage of the Opening Ceremony. I have the -- we'll see what we can do for you. We've been working as hard as we can to be able to --

Q It's still being worked?

MS. PERINO: Well, I would assume that AP has -- I know that you're -- if the President is going, but I'm assuming AP has position and other outlets have position there to cover the Opening Ceremonies. But for our personal press pool, I just -- I wish we could do more. I don't know how much we're going to be able to do, unfortunately.

Everyone tuckered out?

Q Do you know if the Zhongnanhai event is going to be pool, as well? Are we going to be able to send somebody into Zhongnanhai?

MS. PERINO: That's the --

Q That's the thing on Sunday.

MS. PERINO: To be determined. So I don't know yet. That's for that and also for the other meetings that he has with the Vice President and with the Premier.

Q Is he going to be biking on the course?

MS. PERINO: I don't know yet, but -- he'd like to, but I don't know if it's going to work into the schedule. So we'll let you know if it changes.

Q If he does do that -- like any kind of cameras, still photo, something?

MS. PERINO: We'll see. One, I don't even know if it's going to happen, but if it does we'll see on coverage. Usually the biking is not open to the press. I know there's going to be interest, and we'll check.

Q He'll be flying out right after the baseball game on Monday?

MS. PERINO: I don't know what time the baseball game is, but, yes, we do leave Monday for a long trip home.

Q Afternoon, evening?

MS. PERINO: Do you know what time we leave Monday?

Q It's in the mid-afternoon.

MS. PERINO: -- I don't know. I'm not for sure. So obviously sometime in the afternoon.

Q He's not making any public appearances with the Chinese leaders, Hu -- I mean, on Sunday?

MS. PERINO: On Sunday?

Q Will they make statements, take questions, that kind of thing?

MS. PERINO: Well, it will be -- on Saturday after he has his bilat, there's pool at the end.

Q I thought that Sunday was the bilateral.

MS. PERINO: It's Saturday. Sunday is also this social lunch, though, as well -- well, hold on. I'm sorry, okay, it's noon -- I'm sorry, I'm getting my days mixed up -- Sunday. It will probably be pool at the end, but it says to be determined, to be announced. So let us continue to work with them to make sure that we can get it solidified.

Okay, thanks.

Q Thanks, Dana.

END 5:16 P.M. (Local)