Donald Trump baffled by group handshake with fellow leaders at ASEAN summit

Domineering handshakes have become a Trump trademark 

Narjas Zatat
Monday 13 November 2017 09:41
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Donald Trump baffled by group handshake with fellow leaders at ASEAN summit

Donald Trump has added to his personal catalogue of awkward handshakes with fellow world leaders after being left confused by an apparently straightforward group photo during a summit in the Philippines.

The US president was in Manila attending the opening ceremonies of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference, which began with the group photo of those gathered.

Mr Trump, along with those standing on the podium, was instructed to take part in the “traditional” ASEAN handshake, which consists of a cross-body exercise where leaders extend their right arm over their left and shake the opposite hands of those next to them.

However, the US president seemed briefly confused by the announcer’s instructions, and proceeded to cross his hands in front of him.

He turned to the leaders that flanked him – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the right, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the left – and extended his arms outwards.

Finally, he crossed his arms and reached to the correct sides and vigorously shook the arms of the two leaders beside him, while laughing.

Mr Trump has on a five-country trip through Asia travelling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Handshakes have become a Trump trademark in his first year in office, with the President demonstrating a tendency to pull the other person towards him before patting them on the back.

In one instance, he pulled Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hand toward him and then held onto it for a long time, prompting an eye roll from Mr Abe as the President looked away.

The French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in a white-knuckle handshake with the US leader, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau short-circuited Mr Trump’s attempt at dominance and used his left arm to hold onto him to prevent being pulled toward him.

Additional reporting from AP

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