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Chinese and Japanese Leaders Shake Hands… Very Reluctantly

Posted: 11/10/2014 7:42 pm

abe xi handshake

The sky may be mostly blue in Beijing for this week’s big APEC summit, but dark clouds seem to hang over the relationship between China and Japan. Just a few months ago some speculated the two countries were on the verge of armed conflict as tensions rose over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, which each country claims as its own.

That led to today and a highly-publicized meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They hadn’t met in person since they had both become leaders, so when word came they’d meet each other at APEC the spotlight was on. Unfortunately, the two couldn’t even muster a basic smile for the cameras.

We have a series of photos below that show Abe making a reluctant first move, extending his hand, and Xi accepting begrudgingly after a bit of a delay. Despite Abe saying a few words, Xi didn’t say anything back, instead turning his unsmiling face towards the cameras.

Columbia University professor Gerry Curtis said, ”Xi had to be concerned about how the meeting was covered in China. Looking like he was meeting his best friend would probably not go down all that well.”

Here’s how it did go down. The Approach:

abe xi handshake

The Extension:

abe xi handshake

The Longest Five Seconds Ever:

abe xi handshake

Proving that Xi really isn’t as dour as he looks when meeting Abe, here he is meeting other world leaders. Notice everyone else had a nice backdrop of their national flag, unlike Abe:

xi handshakes apec leaders

Of course, which photo you see if the handshake partially depends on which country you’re in:


Here’s a video of the handshake with Abe:


Photos: Sina News, Shenzhen Evening Post

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