US President Donald Trump’s young granddaughter had her Mandarin-speaking skills put to the test in front of China’s top leader on Friday.
Five-year-old Arabella Kushner serenaded President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan with a popular Chinese folk song and recited Chinese poetry for them during their visit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
With her was her three-year-old brother, Joseph Kushner. Arabella and Joseph are the two older children of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and Jared Kushner.
The pair sang the traditional Chinese song, Mo Li Hua (or “Jasmine Flower”), and recited the Three Character Classic for their guests during Xi and Trump’s first face-to-face meeting. Peng sang the same song at different events, with her most famous performance at a 2005 gala.
Arabella, dressed in a simple blue and white dress, also recited two poems by Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) poet Li Bai for Xi and Peng.
Their proud mother Ivanka posted a video of the children’s performance on her social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
With the video, she wrote: “Very proud of Arabella and Joseph for their performance in honor of President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan’s official visit to the US!”
In the 50-second clip, which was also shared by President Trump, Ivanka is heard telling their Chinese dignitaries: “We want to make you feel at home”.
This is not the first time the Trumps have showed off Arabella’s Mandarin-speaking skills in what many believe is the American first family’s soft approach in their attempt to win China’s favour.
During Lunar New Year in February, Ivanka took Arabella to the Chinese embassy in Washington DC to attend a party to celebrate the Chinese festive season.
The girl – in an all-red dress, considered an auspicious colour by the Chinese – greeted the ambassador Cui Tiankai and played with Chinese traditional arts on display at the party.
The following morning, Ivanka posted a video on Instagram of the five-year-old playing with a traditional Chinese string puppet and singing the Chinese version of Happy New Year.
“Arabella singing a song she learned for #ChineseNewYear,” she captioned it. “Wishing everyone an amazing year to come during these days of celebration. ”
The young girl’s Chinese performances have been well received by Chinese internet users, with the videos going viral each time.
Arabella started learning Mandarin from a Chinese nanny when she was 16 months old.
By Sidney Lend