First lady Michelle Obama “has been looking for an opportunity to go to China,” a White House official said on Monday. And she considers it a “real treat” to take her daughters and her mother with her — a trip she’s making at considerable expense to taxpayers, although the White House refused to give a dollar figure.

“You know, the first lady has talked about the importance of young people here in the United States learning about other cultures. She believes that about her own children, and has seen this as a really unique opportunity to share a very different part of the world with her two daughters and with her mother as well,” Mrs. Obama’s Chief of Staff Tina Tchen told a conference call on Monday.

“I think, as she said before, before they came here to the White House, Mrs. Robinson had not done any travel internationally, so the opportunities when she’s been able to do that have been a real treat, I think, for Mrs. Robinson, for the first lady, for her daughters as well to travel together and to see these places and experience them together.”

Tchen — speaking as a Chinese American — said the Obamas “understand the significance…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. And 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.”

Read More: http://cnsnews.com/