Washington (CNN)-First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China this week will focus on broadening ties between the U.S. and China and will avoid discussions of any political differences.
Mrs. Obama will depart Wednesday on her week-long trip where she will visit three cities and speak to students at several schools about the importance of education and youth empowerment in their communities.
"Her visit and her agenda sends a message that the relationship between the United States and China is not just between leaders, it's a relationship between peoples," said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
"That's critically important, given the roles that our two countries are going to play in the 21st century, that we maintain the very regular contacts that we have at the leader-to-leader level, but that we're also reaching out and building relationships with people, particularly young people."
President Barack Obama is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week during the Nuclear Security Summit held in The Hague. White House officials told reporters on a conference call that issues on which the U.S. and China differ, such as human rights and trade, will be discussed directly between the two leaders and other representatives of the governments.
"We don't expect the people of China to agree with all of our policy positions at any given moment, but the more they understand the United States, the more they understand the President and the first lady and their values and their priorities, we think the better it is for both of our countries," Rhodes added.
Mrs. Obama plans on visiting the cities of Beijing and Chengdu where she will speak to students and discuss cultural exchanges and the benefits of studying abroad. China is the fifth most popular country for American students to study abroad, and more students from China study in the U.S. than from any other country.
Beyond her message on education, Mrs. Obama is also expected to meet with Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan. The two will tour the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. The Mrs. Obama will then travel to Xi'an to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. In Chengdu, she will tour the Chengdu Panda Base, which houses approximately 50 pandas.
The first lady will be accompanied by her mother, Marian Robinson, and her daughters, Malia and Sasha, something that White House officials believe will resonate with the Chinese people.
"I think they understand the significance as well of family and of three generations of family traveling together, which I think the Chinese will appreciate, and will appreciate the ties and the bonds that the Obama family have with one another across generations," said the first lady's chief of staff Tina Tchen.
"This is a great opportunity for the Obama family to experience that, and I think for the Chinese to see that as well in an American family."
Mrs. Obama is being briefed regularly by the National Security Council staff before the trip but some of her preparation has come from local students in an Chinese immersion charter school located in Washington. The first lady visited Yu Ying two weeks ago and met with sixth-grade students who had recently traveled to the same cities. The children shared misconceptions they had before traveling to China.