The White House asked Rahm Emanuel, U.S. ambassador to Japan, to stop taunting China on social media, NBC News reported Wednesday.
Emanuel, former Chicago mayor and chief of staff for former President Barack Obama, mocked China President Xi Jinping in a Sept. 7 post on social media platform X, questioning the apparent disappearance of two of Xi's cabinet officials.
"President Xi's cabinet lineup is now resembling Agatha Christie's novel 'And Then There Were None,'" Emanuel wrote. "First, Foreign Minister Qin Gang goes missing, then the Rocket Force commanders go missing, and now Defense Minister Li Shangfu hasn't been seen in public for two weeks. Who's going to win this unemployment race? China's youth or Xi's cabinet? #MysteryInBeijingBuilding."
According to NBC News, President Joe Biden's aides asked Emanuel to stop the "taunting" messages.
"[The posts are] not in keeping with the message coming out of this building," an anonymous White House official told NBC News.
Reuters reported Wednesday that Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu apparently is missing from the public duties of his "diplomatic and ceremonial role" due to investigations launched by Xi into six military officials over the procurement of military equipment.
The report said U.S. officials are concerned that Li's disappearance from his public duties could signal an internal military clampdown by Xi.
Emanuel's messages strike a contrast with what Biden said during his speech to the United Nations General assembly on Tuesday.
"[The U.S. is] ready to work together with China on issues where progress hinges on our common efforts," NBC reported Biden as saying in his speech. "We seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries, so it does not tip into conflict."
A spokesman for Emanuel said the report about being scolded by the White House over the posts is "absolutely not true."
"Ambassador Emanuel is serving with distinction as an uncommonly effective representative of the United States in Japan. Every day his inventiveness, passion, and relentlessness are on full display," Kurt Campbell, deputy assistant to the president and coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, said in an interview. "This guy is a superstar, and when you put Rahm on the field you get the full Rahm."
Another administration official told NBC News that the posts Emanuel made in relation to China does not serve a purpose to advance U.S. goals.
"It just fights what we are doing there in the region," the official said.
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
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