Ever gotten drunk and said something regrettable to a coworker? It's embarrassing, but it's hardly an international incident. Unless you work for the UN—like Chinese diplomat Sha Zukang, who told an American colleague that he doesn't like Americans.
Sha (pictured, really), who has been the UN undersecretary general for Economic and Social Affairs since 2007, is known for his "fractious relationship" with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. How fractious? Fractious enough that, after a few drinks at a retreat for high-level UN officials, Sha had some choice words for his Korean boss, as reported by Foreign Policy's Colum Lynch:
"I know you never liked me Mr. Secretary-General – well, I never liked you, either," said Mr Sha as Mr Ban looked on, smiling and nodding awkwardly during the 15-minute toast attended by the UN's top brass....
"You've been trying to get rid of me," said 62-year-old Mr. Sha according to the senior UN official present, "You can fire me anytime, you can fire me today."
Ohhhh boy. Our personal favorite moment from Mr. Sha's delightful toast came when the diplomat singled out his American coworker Bob Orr, who worked in Ban's executive office:
"I really don't like him: he's an American and I really don't like Americans," he said.
Great quote! We would have done "Champagne for our real friends, real pain for our sham friends," if we were toasting. But—"I really don't like Americans" seems like a pretty good UN toast!
Sha apparently apologized to Ban the next day. (Hey, dude, where's our apology, huh? Signed, America) But his boss had to know what he was getting himself into:
It is not the first time that Mr Sha, a career diplomat, has let the mask of diplomacy slip. In a BBC interview in 2006 he was goaded into a furious, shrieking attack on American criticisms of China's rapidly growing defence budget.
"It is much better for [America] to shut up, keep quiet. Are you the number one? Is it true that the US has almost 50 per cent of the world's military budget?"...
"Why blame China? Forget it. It's high time to shut up. It's America's sovereign right to do whatever is good for them. But don't tell us what is good for China."
Sounds like a fun guy!