Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage on world stage for US – China Summit: Final preparations are underway at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage for the two day conference with President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. Both presidents are arriving here from other meetings; President Obama will arrive on Friday afternoon at the Palm Springs International Airport, and President Xi Jinping is expected this afternoon at Ontario International Airport where he will receive a military reception by Marines from Twentynine Palms.
With hopes for strengthening US-Chinese relations, the two men will come together at Sunnylands, dubbed the “West Coast Camp David”, on Friday for a private dinner that evening. In-depth discussions will continue on Saturday through midday. It’s expected that their meetings will include such thorny issues as North Korea’s Nuclear Program, and Chinese targeted cyber-attacks on US Corporations and on US National Security. Hopes are high that a mutual trust can be established between these two important world leaders so that they can work together to promote world peace and facilitate vital international agreements.
China Summit at Sunnylands Estate
Sunnylands has been hosting important national and international conferences and events since the mid-1960’s when diplomats and philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg first had the home constructed for their annual “winter retreat”. Sunnylands has hosted no less than seven US Presidents (until today), British Royalty, and other world leaders. While the Reagans are perhaps the best known visitors there (they spent every Christmas there during his presidency), President Bush once hosted a state dinner on the estate, a rare departure for these events usually held in Washington.
Through a Trust established by the Annenbergs and now maintained by their children and grandchildren, the mid-century modern home was restored and refurbished, and it reopened in 2012. Now Sunnylands will continue to serve as a retreat for high-level meetings. A grand and luxurious estate, Sunnylands includes a pool, 11 lakes, a tennis court, and a nine hole golf course which can be played as 18 holes. The extensive grounds also include nine acres of cactus and rose gardens.
The estate was opened also to the public in 2012. Admission to the gardens and newly built Reception Center is free, and there are guided tours available for a fee which includes both the grounds and the home itself. I highly recommend the tour, as much of the Annenberg’s art collections -including Chinese art and cloisonne, many personal photos and collections and papers remain on display. It makes for a fascinating visit and I highly recommend it. For specific hours and information, go to Sunnylands.