Upon arrival on Saturday in China as part of his last visit to Asia as US Commander in Chief for the periodic photo-op that is the G-20 meeting, something unexpected happened: a very undiplomatic greeting when an unusual tarmac altercation involving Chinese and U.S. officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice, devolved into a shouting match by a member of the Chinese delegation.
It all started with the actual landing: as AP reports, the first sign of trouble is that there was no staircase for Obama to exit the plane and descend on the red carpet. So, as the photo below shows, Obama used an alternative exit. Needless to say, a diplomatic fuck up such as this one, was not accidental - Beijing was sending a loud and clear message.
Then, around the time Obama was exiting through the emergency staircase, a Chinese official began shouting at White House staff after the traveling American press contingent was brought onto the tarmac. The Chinese official also attempted to block Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes after they lifted a blue rope holding back press and walked to the other side of it, closer to Obama.
As Reuters adds, a Chinese official attempted to prevent national security adviser Susan Rice from walking to the motorcade as she crossed a media rope line, speaking angrily to her before a Secret Service agent stepped between the two. 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 and not a reporter.
Then, according to Politico, the press pool was brought under a wing of Air Force One where the pool was supposed to stay behind a blue rope. However, a member of the Chinese delegation began shouting at White House staff, demanding the pool leave the arrival scene. A White House official said Obama was our president and Air Force One was our plane and that the press was not going to move from the designated area. The Chinese official angrily responded "This is our country. This is our airport."