Thursday, June 6, 2013

First Lady Diplomacy and Etiquette are "No-Shows" for both the Chinese and Japanese

When I turned on the news earlier this evening, I heard something that sounded vaguely familiar; Michelle Obama will be a no show when her husband attends the China-U.S. Summit in California this weekend, a slap in the face to the Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan.
I then found this article below, along with a slew of others;

Michelle Obama snubs stylish Chinese first lady by staying home in D.C. with Sasha and Malia

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan

 The First Lady's decision to remain at home was expected to "not go down very well" with her Chinese counterpart, one Chinese diplomacy expert said. "According to normal diplomatic etiquette, this is very strange. It shouldn't be like this," Zhang Ming, a political scientist from China's Renmin University, told the UK's Daily Telegraph. "First Lady diplomacy is also very important, and the U.S. side has failed to cooperate," he added.

 While the President heads to California, First Lady Michelle Obama will hang back to be with daughters Sasha, 12, and 14-year-old Malia, right, who finish school this week.

Michelle Obama's office revealed Tuesday that she would not be joining her husband at Sunnylands, the Annenberg estate near Palm Springs that will provide the picturesque setting for the political talks.

She wanted to stay in Washington with their children, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 12, who finish school this week, according to the New York Times. 

Xi, 59, will arrive Friday in California. His popular wife, 50, has been dubbed the "Kate Middleton of China" for her glamorous attire and energy in her public appearances. She is also a renowned singer and has taken on a more public role than previous political wives in the Communist nation.

The Chinese president and his wife have a 20-year-old daughter, Xi Mingze, who is a student at Harvard.

But it all sounded vaguely familiar... Then I remembered reading this a few months back.  In February to be exact;  

Japan's First Lady skips D.C., cites Mrs. Obama's schedule

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, Japan's lively and ubiquitous first lady
 "Many in Japan were surprised-and disappointed-to see Prime Minister Shinzo Abe disembark from his special government plane at Washington's Andrews Air Force Base Thursday without his wife on his arm. It is well known that Akie Abe, Japan's lively and ubiquitous first lady, loves to travel with her husband. She doesn't shy away from the spotlight, like many of her predecessors did.

When she came to Washington during her husband's first short stint as prime minister in 2007, Mrs. Abe - known as Akky among her many fans in Japan - laid a wreath at the Arlington Cemetery and chatted with then-First Lady Laura Bush at a dinner party. Last month, she accompanied her husband on his first overseas trip after his return to power in December, visiting a school in Vietnam and showing off her new hairstyle - short cut with bangs.

So why didn't she travel to Washington this week? The answer came from Mrs. Abe herself, in a short Facebook entry. 'My husband left for the U.S. I wanted to go too, but I wasn't able to because of Mrs. Obama's schedule,' she wrote.

In global diplomatic circles, this is a serious lapse in etiquette, as our President's wife always seems to find time for television appearances, meeting with pop stars, and even handing out an Oscar. If she wasn't seen on talk shows and making so many other appearances, one would not question her reticence for the spotlight.  But that simply isn't the case. It makes us wonder, who is guiding her in these decisions?

1 comment:

  1. This seems so wrong. I know this isn't a "job" for her, but she has a civic and social responsibility to the US. She signed onto it when her husband ran for office. This is very rude of her.