- 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 video, appears to show Biden going in to shake Yoon's hand during a gala dinner – but without making eye contact with the latter. Even while shaking Yoon's hand, Biden is seen chatting with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev instead.
Since the incident, the term "no look handshake" has been trending on Twitter in South Korea, according to TrendMemo, which tracks trending Twitter topics worldwide. For several hours, it ranked among the Top 10 topics.
—Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) June 29, 2022
The exchange sparked controversy online, as Twitter users wondered if Biden's actions were considered rude.
As one user tweeted in Korean, not giving Yoon any eye contact shows the US leader had "no intention to be polite at all."
Another user wondered if there was more meaning behind Biden's move. "It's disrespectful even to do so between [ordinary] individuals, but to not look into your eyes while shaking your hands on a diplomatic stage, is sending a message," the user wrote.
It is not uncommon for social media users to scrutinize how world leaders interact with one another at events.
Earlier this month, an awkward photo of French President Emmanuel Macron hugging Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv became an instant internet meme.
In 2017, the internet also went wild over a white-knuckled handshake that Macron shared with then-President Donald Trump. The following year, Macron reportedly shook hands with Trump so firmly that it left an imprint on the latter's hand.