Obama Shrugs Off Friction Between US, Chinese Staffers
Arguments over access nearly got physical
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2016 4:45 PM CDT
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President Obama arrives at the Hangzhou Exhibition Center to attend the G20 Summit, Sunday in Hangzhou, China.   (Etienne Oliveau/Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – President Obama's trip to China got off to an awkward start on Saturday after tensions between Chinese and American staffers all but turned physical. But on Sunday, President Obama didn't think much of the brouhaha. Don't "overcrank the significance," he said at a press conference, per Politico. Some of the friction occurred when Chinese officials attempted to curb movement of the US press on the airport tarmac, while American officials insisted the media was part of their entourage and were entitled to be there. "We don’t leave our values and ideals behind when we take these trips," said Obama, referring to press access. "It can cause some friction. It’s not the first time it’s happened. It doesn’t just happen in China, it happens in other countries where we travel."

Other disputes flared when one Chinese official tried to block National Security Adviser Susan Rice from walking to the presidential motorcade on the tarmac and, later, when the Chinese tried (unsuccessfully) to limit the number of journalists given access to talks between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, notes the New York Post. "The one thing I will say is we don’t make apologies for pushing a little bit harder when it comes to press access, and that’s been the case from my very first state visit here," Obama said. "And we don’t always get everything that we’d like to see, but we think it’s important for us to at least stand up for those values."