President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Suk Yeol, met in Madrid on Tuesday.
In a moment captured on video, Biden appeared to shake Yoon’s hands without making eye contact.
Now, “no look handshake” is trending on Twitter in South Korea as users scrutinize the gesture.
An awkward handshake between US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Yoon Suk Yeol, at the NATO summit in Madrid lit up social media on Wednesday.
The moment between the leaders, which was captured on videoappeared to show Biden extend his hand to Yoon during a gala dinner but then quickly turn away toward Bulgarian President Rumen Radev. He then shook hands with Yoon while chatting with Radev.
Since the incident, the term “no look handshake” has been trending on Twitter in South Korea, according to TrendMemowhich tracks trending Twitter topics worldwide. For several hours, it ranked among the top 10 topics.
The exchange provoked some criticism by Twitter users. One tweeted in Korean that Biden’s actions showed the US leader had “no intention to be polite at all.”
Another user speculated that there might be more meaning behind Biden’s move. Calling it “disrespectful” to do so in everyday interactions, the user wrote that “to not look into your eyes while shaking your hands on a diplomatic stage” was ” sending a message.”
It is not uncommon for social-media users to scrutinize the ways world leaders interact with one another at events.
Earlier this month, an awkward photo of French President Emmanuel Macron hugging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, became an instant internet meme.
In 2017, the internet also went wild over a white-knuckled handshake that Macron shared with Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump. The following year, Macron was said to have shaken hands with Trump so firmly that it left an imprint on Trump’s hand.
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