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An awkward G20 start for US, China

12:53 PM May 30, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

Airport tiff highlights US-China value gap, says the US president

Hangzhou : A tarmac tiff between US and Chinese officials over media access highlighted the gap between views on human rights and press freedom, US President Barack Obama said today after the incident soured the start of a global summit.

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China’s government minders gave American National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other US officials trouble over press access to the US leader’s arrival in the eastern city of Hangzhou. The dispute concluded in a nationalistic eruption from one official, who shouted “This is our country! This is our airport!” at White House staffers as they tried to help American reporters position themselves to film Obama’s arrival. The outburst was caught on camera, in an awkward prelude to face-to-face talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American guest. Both leaders are eager to smooth over their differences and find areas of common cause as they seek to bolster their leadership credentials both abroad and at home. The incident was not a first for China, Obama said during a press briefing with new British Prime Minister Theresa May.

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“We think it’s important that the press have access to the work that we’re doing. That they have the ability to answer questions,” he said, adding “we don’t leave our values and ideals behind when we take these trips.” The differences are also on display in discussions with his Chinese counterpart, he said.

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