- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BEIJING, CHINA - President Obama was headed for Korea this morning after breaking briefly from a heavy diplomatic schedule to see the Great Wall of China.

Mr. Obama spent about a half an hour touring the Badaling section of the wall, accompanied by a large contingent of Chinese guides, Secret Service and White House aides.

The president took the 50-minute drive outside Beijing and was greeted with a bracing cold fierce wind as he climbed up a sloping path, disappeared into a guard post, reappeared and kept going.

The press was kept at a good distance during the visit, and didn’t see the president again until about a half hour later, as the presidential party began its descent and reached the final guard post before the exit.

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At that point, the president emerged from a stone guard post alone, hands in pockets, and peered over the side of the wall.

A reporter asked him about the trip.

“I had a wonderful visit, thank you very much.”

“It’s majestic,” the president said of the Chinese landmark. “It reminds you of the sweep of history. And that our time here on Earth is not that long. So we better make the best of it.”

From the wall, Mr. Obama headed to the airport for a flight to Seoul, the last stop on his eight day, four country tour of Asia. He is expected to visit American troops while in Korea, and engage with the Koreans on efforts to resume talks with North Korea over the rogue nation’s nuclear program.

As he prepared to depart from China, the White House announced that Mr, Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao had agreed to continue their discussions of climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, the global economy, and other matters in Washington next year.