Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Washington, D.C., late Tuesday for talks with President Barack Obama on U.S. relations, security, human rights, and the economy.
This is Jintao's first state visit to America in five years, and likely his last as China's leader.
With this visit, a more confident China expects to be taken seriously in Washington. In 2006, the Chinese were insulted when former President George W. Bush decided against a state banquet and hosted a lunch for President Hu instead.
"The Chinese are very sensitive to these issues of protocol, procedure, perceived status," said Jonathan Pollack, China expert at the Brookings Institute. "But it got worse when the meal was disrupted by a Chinese dissident, and the White House announcer called China 'The Republic of China,' which is the name for China's adversary -- Taiwan."
"There were awkward moments to say the least in a sense of protocol. Some real goofs, frankly, that should not happen on these kinds of state visits," he continued. "I am sure there has been very careful preparation this time to ensure that it not happen again.'
Shortly after Jintao lands, President Obama will roll out the red carpet, hosting the Chinese leader for a state dinner.
China wants to reaffirm its status as a rising power and also calm fears about the country's military arms buildup and new stealth fighter.
U.S.-China relations have been strained during the past year, with verbal clashes over several issues from trade and currency to North Korea and the South China Sea.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs assured reporters that this would be a productive meeting, and Obama won't shy from addressing U.S. concerns to Jintao.
Human rights violations and religious persecution are two major issues.
"I think the president will be firm in outlining the important beliefs of this president and of this country," Gibbs said. "Some of those issues are not issues that China wishes to speak about."
"We will continue to have difficult conversations, but necessary conversations," he continued. "This is a long road... (but the United States will) push them to do better."
Analysts say President Hu's mission is to try to put the his country's relationship with the U.S. back on track.