Oddly Enough

Sole-searching in China after shoe attack on Bush

Video frame grab of U.S. President George W. Bush (L) ducking from a shoe during a news conference in Baghdad, December 14, 2008. REUTERS/Reuters TV

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said he would be watching out for journalists taking off their shoes in news conferences after an Iraqi reporter threw a pair at outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad.

Liu Jianchao was asked what he thought of Sunday’s incident, when the television journalist also called the American leader a “dog,” and replied all leaders deserved respect.

“I believe we should have basic respect for the leader of a country,” he told a media briefing, before adding that the attack had given him pause for thought.

“Maybe I need to watch out not just for who is raising their hands but who is taking off their shoes,” said Liu, who then faced a volley of tough questions, but no hurtling objects.

Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Nick Macfie