Obama arrived shortly after 3 p.m., and was greeted by Governor Jerry Brown and his wife Anne Gust, along with other local dignitaries including Congressman Raul Ruiz and Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.
Scheduled to arrive at the airport at 2:50 p.m., the president was slightly delayed in leaving Los Angeles, where he spent the morning and afternoon attending two Democratic National Convention fundraisers. The president was supposed to board a helicopter in Santa Monica to take him to LAX for his departure to Riverside County, but was instead driven directly to the airport to avoid the area around Santa Monica College where a shooting occurred Friday, according to White House pool reports provided to Patch.
After chatting on the tarmac with the governor and other local leaders for about five minutes in the 110 degree heat, the president was whisked away to the exclusive Sunnylands Resort in Rancho Mirage, escorted by the California Highway Patrol in a motorcade. There, he was slated to meet with President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China.
As for specific issues, Obama and Xi will tackle such thorny questions as North Korea's nuclear program and Chinese hacking into American sites in search of corporate and national security secrets -- a subject stressed by Obama administration officials in pre-summit briefings this week.
Obama and Xi, who became president of the world's most populous nation in March, have met before, when Xi was vice president— not as counterparts. They will meet at Sunnylands this afternoon and Saturday for "in-depth discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues," according to a White House statement issued last month.
They "will review progress and challenges in U.S.-China relations over the past four years and discuss ways to enhance cooperation, while constructively managing our differences, in the years ahead," it said.
An administration official this week elaborated on the theme of the two nuclear superpowers managing their ties and avoiding flareups born of miscalculations.
"On this issue of building a new model of great power relations, I think both leaders have recognized that there is a danger that a rising power and an established power could come into conflict at some point," the official said.
He expressed the belief that Obama and Xi see "that to avoid ... this trap of rivalry between a rising power and an established power, that it's important to put in place ... bilateral mechanisms that allow them to deal with the greatest sources of instability and competition."
Xi was also scheduled to meet with Gov. Brown following his discussions with Obama, according to the governor's office.
It was not disclosed when Obama would depart from Palm Springs. Prior to his Riverside County visit, the president spent Thursday in Northern California.