Natacha Pisarenko/AP/PA

Argentina's president makes fun of the Chinese accent - while on visit to China

China’s government did not comment on the incident but there were plenty of other critics both at home and in China.

ARGENTINA’S PRESIDENT CRISTINA Kirchner was criticised home and abroad today after a pretty undiplomatic tweet during a state visit to China.

Kirchner, who is on a mission to expand trade and political ties with China, seemingly poked fun at Asian difficulties pronouncing the letters L and R.

One tweet, in which she switched the two letters in words, read: “Did they only come for lice (rice) and petloleum (petroleum)?”

A few minutes later, after the immediate backlash, she said: “Sorry. You know what? There is too much craziness and absurdity, only humour can get you through it.”

Her original tweet was an attempted play on a political joke from home. Critics of the president say her supporters only attend party events so they can get a free sandwich and a soda.

The Argentine president is already under the spotlight at home after the suspicious death of a prosecutor.

Her tweet was prominently covered in Argentine media and was picked up on by Chinese social media users.

“How about you say two sentences in Chinese so I can hear your pronunciation?” asked one.

Another user on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service, added: “Amazing she has the courage to beg for investment while at the same time ridiculing Chinese people.”

But China’s government-run news outlets carried no mention of the gaffe or commented on its diplomatic implications, and foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei declined to comment Thursday.

- © AFP 2015 with reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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