U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin shook hands at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit dinner in Vietnam on Friday, even though the White House said there would be no formal meeting.
Trump and Putin smiled and stood next to each other for the traditional group photograph. Then they parted to sit at different parts of the table.
The White House said earlier that no formal meeting was planned because of scheduling conflicts on both sides, though it was possible they would bump into each other.
The Russian and US presidents’ respective offices had reportedly been engaged in organizing bilateral talks during the two-day event, trying to choose an appropriate timing and format. However, just hours ahead of the summit the White House said that a formal meeting would not happen, citing scheduling conflicts. In an earlier comment that has raised eyebrows, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned whether the two leaders have anything “sufficiently substantive to talk about” at the moment.