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Bill Gates 'casual' handshake has South Koreans up in arms

Microsoft founder accused of disrespecting the South Korean President, Park Geun-hye
  • @bobjwilliams

Body language experts would have us believe that you can tell a lot about a person from their handshake.

What to make then of the casual approach employed by billionaire philanthropist and King of Silicon Valley, Bill Gates?

The Microsoft founder has been accused of disrespecting the South Korean President, Park Geun-hye, after he was pictured shaking hands with her - with his other hand firmly in his pocket.

"Disrespectful handshake? Casual handshake?" wrote South Korea’s largest newspaper, The Dong-A Ilbo beneath a photograph of the meeting on Tuesday morning.

Although there was no formal comment from the Presidential office social networks were awash with comments on just how offensive, or not, the handshake was.

"Even considering the cultural difference, there is an appropriate manner for certain occasions . . . how can he put his hand in his pocket when meeting a leader of the state?" tweeted msryu67.

According to AFP previous photographs of Mr Gates in 2008 with Ms Park's predecessor Lee Myung-bak, show him adopting a similarly casual handshake.

However an image from 2001 in which he is pictured with then-president Kim Dae-jung showed him adopting a two-handed shake.

"Gates is a casual man who's not bound by customs so he shakes hands in this manner even when meeting heads of international organisations or top political figures." Dong-A Ilbo quoted an unnamed friend of his in Seoul as saying.