Bill Gates' one-armed, hand-in-pocket handshake with South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday has reportedly created quite a stir among the nation's media outlets which described the salutation as "rude."
"Perhaps it was his all-American style but an open jacket with hand in pocket? That was way too casual. It was very regretful," said Chung Jin-suk, secretary general at the Korean National Assembly, reported ABC News
The uproar even prompted an official response from South Korea's presidential office, notes South Korea's Dong-al-Ilbo newspaper.
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"Bill Gates took a similar pose for a picture when he met former President Lee Myung-bak five years ago," the statement read. "Just think of it as an American style of greeting."
In Asian culture, particularly in Korea, Gates' hand-in-pocket handshake is considered rude and suggests that he sees himself as superior to the party he is greeting, noted ABC News' Joohee Cho. One-handed handshakes are generally exchanged between close friends or initiated by someone when greeting another party that is either younger or their age, added Cho.
The uproar prompted a closer inspection of Gates' handshaking history with world leaders, revealing a pattern of pocket-shaking by the Microsoft co-founder over the years.
In a photo montage compiled by the Atlantic
, a one-handed Gates shakes the hands of multiple world leaders including: China's President Xi Jinping in April; Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna last May; Secretary General of the U.N. Ban Ki-moon last September; former French President Nicolas Sarkozy last January; and former South African President Thabo Mbeki in 2006.
One world leader Gates did not give a hand-in-pocket handshake to was Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy.
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Gates was in South Korea on a three day visit to promote his start-up TerraPower, which is developing next-generation nuclear reactors, reported ABC News.
Gates, the richest person in the United States with a net worth of $67 billion, hasn't commented on the South Korean controversy.
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