In China, Michelle Obama Tours School, Forbidden City

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by her Chinese counterpart, Peng Liyuan, visited a school on the first day of Obama's five-day trip to China.

The two participated in a calligraphy demonstration Friday before visiting the former Imperial Palace in Beijing's Forbidden City.

During their travels, the first lady, along with her mother and two daughters, will also visit the Great Wall of China, the famed Terra Cotta Warriors and a panda preserve.

Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech Saturday at the Stanford Center of the prestigious Peking University. She will also meet the staff and families of the American embassy in Beijing.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, followed by her daughters Malia and Sasha, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Diaoyutai State guest house in Beijing on March 21, 2014. /AP U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, followed by her daughters Malia and Sasha, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Diaoyutai State guest house in Beijing on March 21, 2014. /AP

The two first ladies had been expected to meet last June when their husbands held a summit in California, but Obama stayed behind in Washington.

White House officials have said Obama's trip will focus on education and will steer clear of more contentious issues between the United States and China, such as human rights and trade.

Both of Obama's predecessors have addressed contentious matters while visiting China.

During a 2008 trip, Laura Bush urged China to put more pressure on the military government of Burma. And in 1995, Hillary Clinton attended the UN Women's Conference in Beijing and gave a high-profile speech urging China to improve its human rights record.

VOA News / Mar. 22, 2014 08:40 KST