Netizens outraged over China’s alleged snub at Obama’s arrival
Share this on

Netizens outraged over China’s alleged snub at Obama’s arrival

THE G20 Summit being held at Hangzhou, China was off to a shaky start this weekend – at least, for the U.S. delegation.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s underwhelming arrival on Saturday afternoon, which saw no staircase being provided for him to exit Air Force One, has led to accusations of a deliberate snub.

Instead, Obama had to use a lower-level exit, coming down the Air Force One’s own stairs.

Leaders from other countries, such as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, Brazilian President Michel Temer, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, all got the red carpet treatment upon touching down at the airport.

Following that, tempers flared between U.S. and Chinese officials on the airport tarmac, arguing over White House press photographers, who were attempting to get into position to take photos of the president’s arrival.

When a White House official tried to intervene, a Chinese official was caught on video shouting: “This is our country! This is our airport!”

“The reception that President Obama and his staff got when they arrived here Saturday afternoon was bruising, even by Chinese standards,” said the New York Times.

On Twitter, Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s former ambassador to China, said he believed that Obama’s treatment was “an intended snub”.

In a tweet, he commented: “The Chinese take care of the last details, nothing is improvised. POTUS arrival to Hangzhou was an intended snub.”

Other users on Twitter also weighed in:

However, a Chinese foreign ministry official involved in the visit said the stair incident had not been done on purpose, explaining to the South China Morning Post that it was the U.S. delegation which had declined to use the usual rolling red-carpet staircase.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official went on to say: “It would do China no good in treating Obama rudely.”

“China provides a rolling staircase for every arriving state leader, but the U.S. side complained that the driver doesn’t speak English and can’t understand security instructions from the United States; so China proposed that we could assign a translator to sit beside the driver, but the U.S. side turned down the proposal and insisted that they didn’t need the staircase provided by the airport,” added the official.

SEE ALSO: Queen Elizabeth describes Chinese delegation as ‘very rude’ (VIDEO)

When asked to comment on the incident, Obama gave a diplomatic response: “I wouldn’t over-crank the significance of it because, as I said, this is not the first time that these things happen and it doesn’t just happen here. It happens in a lot of places including, by the way, sometimes our allies.”

He also suggested that his Chinese hosts may have found the size of the U.S. delegation “a little overwhelming”.

“We’ve got a lot of planes, a lot of helicopters, a lot of cars and a lot of guys. If you are a host country, sometimes it may feel a little bit much.”

But Obama gave his reassurance that “none of this detracts from the broader scope of the relationship”.