G20 Summit: Obama says furious row with Chinese outside Air Force One over 'values and ideals'

Spat culminates in official from Beijing shouting 'this is our country' at American

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Sunday 04 September 2016 12:33
Comments
White House and Chinese officials clash at start of G20

Barack Obama has said western "values and ideals" were at the heart of a furious row that erupted between Chinese and US officials on the runway outside Air Force One.

The president said the US had a different approach to freedom of the press than China, following an argument that broke out after he touched down to attend the G20 Summit in Hangzhou.

The clash with White House staff over what the press should be able to view saw a Chinese official eventually shouting, "this is our country".

Speaking of the event at a press conference later, he said: "It is true that, not for the first time when we have come here, there ends up being issues around security and press access.

"Part of the reason is because we insist on a certain approach to our press pool, for example, that other countries may not insist on.

"We think it's important the press have access to the work that we're doing, that they have the ability to answer questions and we dont leave our values and ideals behind when we take these trips."

"It can cause some friction."

The Chinese official began shouting at White House staff when the traveling American press contingent was brought onto the tarmac.

The US press had been herded under a wing of Air Force One where they were supposed to stay behind a blue rope, but a member of the Chinese delegation began shouting at White House staff, demanding they leave the runway.

A White House official hit back saying Mr Obama was their president, Air Force One their plane and that the press would not move from the designated area. The Chinese official responded, "this is our country."

It was reported that he then also attempted to block National Security Advisor Susan Rice and her deputy Ben Rhodes after they lifted the blue rope holding back press and walked over to be closer to Obama.

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