China has laid the blame solely on the US over the gaffe that resulted in US President Barack Obama being forced to disembark from his plane through a small metal stairway instead of the customary red-carpet staircase that visiting state leaders are usually given.

A Chinese foreign ministry official refuted media claims that China had deliberately snubbed Obama when he exited the Air Force One through the back stairway without the red carpet.

"China provides a rolling staircase for every arriving state leader, but the US side complained that the driver doesn't speak English and can't understand security instructions from the United States; so China proposed that we could assign a translator to sit beside the driver, but the US side turned down the proposal and insisted that they didn't need the staircase provided by the airport," the official told the South China Morning Post.

The official said it would not be of any good to China to treat Obama rudely. She declined to be identified as she was not authorised to speak to the media, the Hong Kong-based newspaper said.

Obama has downplayed the apparent slight over his airport tarmac greeting by China. "I wouldn't over crank the significance" of tensions at the airport. "Part of it is we also have a much bigger footprint than a lot of other countries," he said.

"We've got a lot of planes, a lot of helicopters, a lot of cars, a lot of guys. You know, if you're a host country, sometimes it may feel a bit too much," Obama said.

The newspaper pointed out that although Obama was not accorded the red carpet staircase welcome, one was rolled out for him as he walked to his black limousine that was brought to China for the G20 meeting.

Barack Obama Air Force One China
No red carpet for US President Barack Obama as he arrives at Hangzhou Xiaoshan international airport for the G20 Summit. Damir Sagolj/Reuters

He Weiwen, a former economic counsellor at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco and New York agreed with the Chinese official, saying: "Sino-US relations are so important to China, and there's absolutely no logic in creating trouble or to downgrade treatment for the US president."

Shi Yinhong, an international affairs professor at the Renmin University noted that Obama's previous visits to China saw both sides compromising and allowing each country to take charge of parts of the security arrangement. "It would be a departure from regular diplomatic practice if the United States was in charge of the entire security arrangements for its president in the visiting country," Shi explained.

Further, Shi added, letting the US organise the whole security for Obama may not be ideal as they may not be familiar with the situation on the ground in Beijing.

US Presidential Republican candidate Donald Trump had even entered the fray saying that if he was the president, he would have immediately turned around and flown back to the US instead of attending the G20 summit in Hangzhou.

"They won't even give him stairs, proper stairs to get out of the airplane. You see that? They have pictures of other leaders who are ... coming down with a beautiful red carpet. And Obama is coming down a metal staircase," Trump said in Ohio.

His rival Hilary Clinton's campaign, however, said that Trump's comments showed that the Republican lacked the temperament to be president as he takes offence far too easily and retaliates.