U.S. and Chinese Officials Scuffled Over 'Nuclear Football' During Trump's Visit to Beijing

Axios reports incident in which Chinese security officials blocked the entry of the aide carrying the 'football'

U.S. President Donald Trump chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Nov. 9, 2017
Andy Wong/AP

U.S. and Chinese officials scuffled over the "nuclear football" containing launch codes during President Donald Trump's visit to China in November 2017, U.S. news website Axios reported Monday.

The incident occurred while Trump and his team visited the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, when Chinese security officials blocked the entry of an aide who was carrying the "nuclear football," according to Axios.

A briefcase needed to launch nuclear weapons, commonly referred to as the "nuclear football," is always accompanied by a military officer and kept close to the president at all times.

U.S. officials alerted Trump's chief of staff John Kelly who rushed over and told the officials to "keep walking," according to the Axios reporter who spoke to five sources familiar with the event.

A Chinese security official then grabbed Kelly, who pushed the man off him. A U.S. secret service agent then tackled the Chinese official to the ground.

At no point did Chinese officials touch the "nuclear football", and the Chinese head of security later apologized, Axios reported.