Wang told the US Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, that the China-US relationship was like a marriage. Only not a gay one. And hopefully, nothing like Rupert Murdoch’s.

“In China when we say a pair of new people, we mean a newlywed couple,” Wang said on Wednesday, sitting side-by-side with Lew at a high-level meeting in Washington. “Although US law does permit marriage between two men, I don’t think this is what Jacob or I actually want.”

According to Reuters, Lew “briefly smiled down at his notes” while members of the Chinese delegation “squirmed” at Wang’s joke, an oblique reference to the US supreme court’s landmark ruling in support of gay rights last month.