Published: Mon, February 19, 2018

U.S. and Chinese officials 'scuffled over nuclear football' during Trump Beijing visit

U.S. and Chinese officials 'scuffled over nuclear football' during Trump Beijing visit

White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and a Secret Service agent scuffled with Chinese security officials over the USA nuclear "football" during a trip to China in November, Axios reported Sunday.

It said the row began when the US military aide carrying the nuclear football entered the Great Hall and was blocked by Chinese security officials from entering. Then a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.

A United States official quickly informed Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly who "rushed over" and told U.S. officials, "We're moving in".

A Chinese security official then grabbed Kelly, who pushed the man off him.

News website Axios, quoting five sources familiar with the events, reported that the incident occurred on November 9 as Trump and his team visited Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

The nuclear football is a briefcase that contains the launch codes to be used by the president in case of authorizing a nuclear attack.

A US official dashed into an adjoining room and informed Kelly of what was happening.

John Kelly, Chinese officials caused commotion over nuclear football in Beijing, report says

At no time, according to Axios, did the Chinese control the "nuclear football", and US officials were asked to keep quiet about the November 9 incident, which may have been a misunderstanding.

The so-called USA "president's emergency satchel" is used to be carried by a military aide, who is required to remain close to the Commander-in-Chief at all times.

Another official told the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, what had occurred and he tried to intervene, Axios said, saying its report was based on five unnamed sources familiar with what happened.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the story.

The nuclear football was never in contact with a foreign official, and the Chinese security detail later apologized.

However, Obama remained calm and composed during the entire scuffle.

Chinese officials have become increasingly assertive about their authority with the aides of visiting United States dignitaries. As they exchanged angry words her Secret Service agent stepped in to usher her past him.

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