Obama receives 'diplomatic snub' in China
'I wouldn't overcrank the significance' of tensions at the airport, Obama told a news conference in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, where global leaders are convening for a G20 summit. Photograph: (Reuters)
Red carpet was rolled out for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazil's newly elected President Michel Temer, among other heads of states, The Guardian reported today. However, the US President was denied a red carpet welcome.
Following the cold reception, an argument broke out between White House aides and Chinese security officials, a Reuters footage shows.
However, Obama today said the significance of the row between US and Chinese officials at the airport upon his arrival shouldn't be 'overblown', Reuters said.
"I wouldn't overcrank the significance" of tensions at the airport, Obama told a news conference in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, where global leaders are convening for a G20 summit.
Unfolding of the argument
Shortly after Obama disembarked from the plane on Saturday, a Chinese official shouted at a White House press official as the US official instructed foreign reporters on where to stand as they recorded Obama.
"This is our country. This is our airport," the official said in English, pointing and speaking angrily with the aide, footage shows.
Government official was not happy that reporters were under the wing of AF1. WH press aide would not back down. pic.twitter.com/C3JRVIe37K— Roberta Rampton (@robertarampton) September 3, 2016
Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice was also confronted by the same official on the tarmac prompting the Secret Service to intervene. The official attempted to prevent 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.
However, it was not clear if the official, whose name was not immediately clear, knew that Rice was a senior official and not a reporter.
The altercation seemingly occurred out of sight of Obama, who greeted ambassadors and other officials before the presidential motorcade pulled away with Rice.
Meanwhile, Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s former ambassador to China, told the Guardian he was convinced Obama’s treatment was part of a calculated snub. “These things do not happen by mistake. Not with the Chinese,” he has been quoted as saying.
Refererring to the entire episode, the New York Times said it was reminiscent of the rough treatment he received on his first trip to China in 2009.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)