Hangzhou, a beautiful yet relatively unknown town in China, is now a host to a meeting of world leaders who are discussing matters of international concerns. The Chinese authorities with an aim to empty the cities of crowd and traffic have given the local residents a weeklong vacation time and discounted tours to destinations outside the city, during the G20 summit. The city has around 10 million people. Factories with heavy pollution emissions in the surrounding area were reportedly directed to stop its operations. Such measures were taken in order to present a good image in front of world leaders, and also because of security concerns. At the same time, migrant workers have left the city in thousands, as the work have been suspended and the G20 preparations have caused some inconvenience. This G20 meet is the first that China has hosted.
What this virtual lockdown caused was some awkward surprises and exchange of words when a misunderstanding caused a mundane issue of how President Obama had to get down from the Air Force One. There have been accusations on the Chinese leaders of a calculated diplomatic snub delivered to the US President as he was not provided with a staircase to get down on his plane when he arrived in Hangzhou city before the summit. While there were red carpets for many world leaders including Indian PM Narendra Modi, Obama had to get down from a less used door near the plane’s belly. Obama was reportedly not provided with a rolling staircase. According to reports, there was some miscommunication when China decided to give a driver to deliver the stairs near the plane, but the US officials said that he was not an English speaker. US officials alleged that there were too few people to attend or communicate with.
After a lot of heated exchange of words, and US’s confrontation with China, President Obama played down the dispute. He said that it was a normal give and take when it comes to US’s media and security access in other countries. He also acknowledges that the White House also places lots of demands from other countries since it has the biggest entourage.