Expert on China: “It sure looks like a straight-up snub.”
With less than 140 days left in the Oval Office, President Obama is attempting to ensure his legacy of foreign policy ineptitude continues on after his term ends.
It appears as if he has succeeded with the Chinese, as observers indicate he was denied the usual pomp and pageantry reserved for greeting other heads-of-state.
China’s leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US president was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.
Chinese authorities have rolled out the red carpet for leaders including India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, Brazil’s president, Michel Temer, and the British prime minister, Theresa May, who touched down on Sunday morning.
But the leader of the world’s largest economy, who is on his final tour of Asia, was forced to disembark from Air Force One through a little-used exit in the plane’s belly after no rolling staircase was provided when he landed in the eastern Chinese city on Saturday afternoon….
Experts on China were brutal in their assessment of what message the Chinese intended to send with this landing “ceremony.”
Bill Bishop, a China expert whose Sinocism newsletter tracks the country’s political scene, agreed that Obama’s welcome looked suspiciously like a deliberate slight intended “to make the Americans look diminished and weak”.
“It sure looks like a straight-up snub,” Bishop said. “This clearly plays very much into the [idea]: ‘Look, we can make the American president go out of the ass of the plane.’”
Meanwhile, the administration is trying to downplay a series of kerfluffles between Chinese officials and American ones after the plane landed.
…The summit got off to a contentious start Saturday with Chinese officials reportedly confronting National Security Advisor Susan Rise and other U.S. officials in at least three separate incidents. Reporters on the tarmac said that as soon as Air Force One arrived, a member of the Chinese delegation started screaming at the White House staff.
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…
Team Obama is certainly putting a new spin on the phrase “charm offensive.” The President is continuing this approach during the G20 summit, by lecturing Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that it’s critical to “finish the job” of securing Turkey’s border with Syria.
Obama said securing the Turkish border was important because that is where would-be recruits to the Islamic State (IS) extremist group enter Syria.
Obama also said Turkey must not carry alone the burden of addressing the Syrian refugee crisis.
But at least Obama managed team up with China’s President Xi to put his pen to the Paris Climate Accord, which I predicted last week.
President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China formally committed the world’s two largest economies to the Paris climate agreement here on Saturday, cementing their partnership on climate change and offering a rare display of harmony in a relationship that has become increasingly discordant.
“Increasingly discordant” aptly describes the state of all our foreign relations after two terms of Obama.
The airport greeting is the perfect symbol of the loss of status the office of the U.S. President has experienced under Obama, as well as the damaged state of our relationships with China and other nations.
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