The G20 summit got off to a contentious start Saturday with Chinese officials reportedly confronting National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other U.S. officials in at least three incidents, as President Obama arrived in China for the two-day international economic talks.
Within minutes of Obama arriving on Air Force One, a member of the Chinese delegation started screaming at White House staff, according to reporters on the tarmac.
One reporter described the scene as “a bit of chaos,” as the Chinese official appeared furious about journalists being so near Obama’s arrival, though they purportedly were standing in the area Chinese officials had designated for them.
White House officials reportedly told the Chinese official that the U.S. press corps was staying for the American president arriving on a U.S. aircraft.
When the White House official insisted the U.S. would set the rules for its own leader, her Chinese counterpart shot back, the Associated Press reported.
“This is our country! This is our airport!” the Chinese official yelled.
The exchange with Rice reportedly happened when the Chinese official attempted to prevent her from walking to the U.S. motorcade, as she crossed a media rope line. The official purportedly spoke angrily to her before a Secret Service agent intervened.
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, not a reporter.
When asked about the incident later by a reported, Rice seemed less than amused by the incident.
“They did things that weren’t anticipated,” she said, the AP reported.
A White House spokesman and China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond immediately to requests by Reuters for comment.