I received numerous questions about the leader of communist China visiting the US and having Presidential Honor Guard members holding the Chinese flag and other honors rendered. Let’s get into the information about arrival ceremonies.
DoDI5410.19 Vol 4, Community Outreach Activities: Ceremonial, Musical, and Aerial Event Support; AR 600-60, Army Protocol; and AR 840-10, the Army’s flag manual, apply to arrival and other ceremonies where a foreign national flag might be displayed or carried.
Note: All three of the photos in this article are similar to the main photo at the top. A color guard of three make up a team that holds the flag of the visiting foreign dignitary. That dignitary can be a civilian in the government or a member of the military. The photo at the top shows a Soldier of the 3rd Infantry (The Old Guard) of Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, holding the Chinese flag while on his right is another Soldier holding the US. Both are in three-man color guards.
Legal to Hold a Foreign Flag?
Our members of the military hold foreign national flags for every visit of a foreign national government official who rates honors (DoDI 5410.19 Vol. 4). The visits can be grandiose (full honors, joint or single-service) and out on the White House lawn or relatively small and held at the river entrance of the Pentagon or even inside Marine Barracks Washington.
We are technically not at war with the visiting foreign leader or POTUS would not be receiving him. That the requires a salute/honors rendered for the appropriate times.
FYI, the only communist country the USA is at war with is North Korea since the Korean War ended with a cease fire and is still officially active. Therefore, they don’t warrant an official state visit and the North Korean Flag would not be present.
Written with DeVaughn Simper, resident Vexillologist for Colonial Flag