Earlier today, President Barack Obama landed in Hangzhou, China for day one of the economic summit. Air Force One wasn’t on the ground long before the first of many confrontations between Chinese and American officials happened.
Tensions were immediately ratcheted up when there was no staircase provided for Obama to exit the place and descend directly onto the red carpet. Obama was forced to use an alternate exit.
On the tarmac, an argument broke out between a presidential aide and Chinese official who demanded the U.S. press corps be kept far away from the President. Traditionally, the U.S. media enjoys close contact with the president whenever he arrives in a foreign country.
When the White House official insisted the U.S. would set the rules for its own leader, her Chinese counterpart shot back. “This is our country! This is our airport!” the Chinese official yelled.
Also, a Chinese official tried to keep Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, away from her boss. Apparently, the Chinese were so forceful, the Secret Service had to intervene. Rice seemed less than amused by the incident when asked about it by a reporter. They did things that weren’t anticipated,” she said.
Later, two Chinese officials – one working to assist the American delegation – had to be physically separated after trying to hit each other outside an event.