President Obama is humiliated in China. At arrival on Saturday in China as part of his last visit to Asia as US Commander in Chief for the periodic photo-op that is the G-20 meeting, something unexpected happened: a very undiplomatic greeting when an unusual tarmac altercation involving Chinese and U.S. officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice, devolved into a shouting match by a member of the Chinese delegation.
It all started with the actual landing: as AP reports, the first sign of trouble is that there was no staircase for Obama to exit the plane and descend on the red carpet. So, as the photo below shows, Obama used an alternative exit. Needless to say, a diplomatic f-ck up such as this one, was not accidental – Beijing was sending a loud and clear message.
Then, around the time Obama was exiting through the emergency staircase, a Chinese official began shouting at White House staff after the traveling American press contingent was brought onto the tarmac. The Chinese official also attempted to block Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes after they lifted a blue rope holding back press and walked to the other side of it, closer to Obama.
As Reuters adds, a Chinese official attempted to prevent national security adviser Susan Rice from walking to the motorcade as she crossed a media rope line, speaking angrily to her before a Secret Service agent stepped between the two. Rice responded but her comments were inaudible to reporters standing underneath the wing of Air Force One. It was unclear if the official, whose name was not immediately clear, knew that Rice was a senior official and not a reporter.
Then, according to Politico, the press pool was brought under a wing of Air Force One where the pool was supposed to stay behind a blue rope. However, a member of the Chinese delegation began shouting at White House staff, demanding the pool leave the arrival scene. A White House official said Obama was our president and Air Force One was our plane and that the press was not going to move from the designated area. The Chinese official angrily responded “This is our country. This is our airport.”
“They did things that weren’t anticipated,” Rice told reporters afterwards.
However, the disagreements between Chinese and American officials did not just stay on the tarmac. At Westlake Statehouse, where the summit was being held, a group of White House staff arriving before Obama was stopped at a security checkpoint. A heated argument between Chinese officials and White House staff, protocol officers and Secret Service, who were trying to enter the building separately from the press, broke out at the security gate.
According to the pool report, U.S. officials could be heard arguing in Chinese with Chinese officials over how many Americans could go through security at one time, how many White House officials were allowed to be in the building before Obama’s arrival, and which U.S. officials were on a security list.
“The president is arriving here in an hour,” a White House staffer was overheard saying in exasperation. A Chinese official assisting the U.S. officials became angered by how the guards were treating the White House staff as the disagreement escalated.
“You don’t push people. No one gave you the right to touch or push anyone around,” he yelled in Chinese at one of the Chinese security officials.
*** Share this page on Facebook, Twitter, Email and other social media with the share tools at the top and bottom of this page ***