Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: American top diplomat’s encounter with Russia and China seen as awkward

An awkward moment at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit ensued when Antony Blinken entered the room where the foreign ministers of China and Russia were seated, the three encountering each other as tensions between the countries remain at an all-time high. The US secretary of state entered the meeting room at the East Asia Summit of the ongoing ASEAN meetings in Phnom Penh on Friday when Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov were already seated. When Mr Wang entered before the US secretary, he patted the Russian minister on the shoulder and gave him a quick wave before taking his own seat, the Associated Press reported. Mr Lavrov waved back in response. But when Mr Blinken entered the room, as last among the three officials, there was no eye contact among them. He took his own seat about half-a-dozen chairs away. (https://news.yahoo.com/awkward-moment-us-blinken-enters-090930420.html) While Mr Blinken was seated some six seats away from Mr Lavrov, the Chinese foreign minister was seated farther down the same table as his Russian counterpart. This came after Russia took a swipe at Mr Blinken, saying Mr Lavrov talked to everyone who was not “hiding” during the ASEAN gala dinner.

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