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Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press
U.S. President Barack Obama, second left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, second right, at Zhongnanhai leaders compound as they walk together before their private dinner Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Beijing, China. The other individuals are their their translators.

BEIJING — President Barack Obama is opening two days of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) in Beijing.

Xi greeted Obama with a handshake on a chilly evening at the sprawling imperial gardens, Zhong Nan Hai, that sit just next to the Forbidden City and serve as the center of power for China's government and for the Communist Party of China.

The two leaders walked together along a brightly lit bridge in ceremonial fashion. Speaking through a translator, Xi explained the history of the gardens to Obama. The U.S. leader asked questions about when the facility was built.

Later, Obama and Xi held a meeting at Zhong Nan Hai before a private dinner.

The evening sets the stage for in-depth talks that Obama and Xi will hold on Wednesday.