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Who accompanies president on foreign visits, how are they selected?

( Updated: 2015-09-22 15:51

Who accompanies president on foreign visits, how are they selected?

President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave to the crowd in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia during a state visit, Oct 2, 2013.[Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping is setting out for his first state visit to the United States on September 22.

Ever wondered how large the entourage that accompanies the president on state visit is? Who are selected to accompany him? Who will ride on the same plane with Xi? Here are the answers to all your queries.

Q1. How many people will be on the presidential plane?

A1. No more than 100

According to an informed source, a few dozens of people can go with President Xi on the same plane on a state visit as a general rule.

Lu Peixin, former acting director of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Beijing News that based on his experience of previous visits the plane carries about 40 to 50 people.

When President Xi visited Russia for the first time in 2013, Xinhua News Agency reported that fewer people from Beijing accompanied Xi than before, which means Xi may reduce his team further.

Q2. What is the special plane like?

A2. There is no "special plane" for Chinese leaders. The planes are provided by Air China.

Lu Peixin said that Air China provides double-deck Boeing 747s for Chinese President's foreign visits, which are also used as passenger planes in ordinary days.

Lu said it takes more than a month to select the crew, install facilities and carry out security checks before setting out.

A refitted plane consists of four sections.

President's cabin is in the front, which comprises a living room, a bedroom, and an office, taking one-third space of the plane.

The cabin for ministers follows, which "resembles a deluxe cabin in a passenger plane". The most important officials are seated in this cabin. Every seat is equipped with a small desk.

The third cabin is for those at departmental level, which "is also spacious and like a first-class cabin".

The back of the plane is for others, which is similar to cabins in ordinary passenger planes.

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