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Too friendly? Putin gets chivalrous to impress China’s first lady

Putin made the gesture at the opening dinner of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit

Published: Updated:

Diplomacy is difficult to navigate, with many dos and don’ts, and the Russian president’s manners and chivalry were recently tested in an encounter with China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan.

Russia’s recently-single, rifle-shooting, shirtless, horseback riding President Vladimir Putin decided to place a shawl around the shoulders of his ally’s wife, in an incident that has garnered international attention.

Putin made the gesture at the opening dinner of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Beijing’s Water Cube.

Airing live, state-broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed the Russian president chatting with Liyuan before he abruptly stood up to wrap what seemed to be a gray coat around her shoulders.

CCTV’s anchor quickly spotted the incident and remarked: “Putting has just placed his coat around Peng Liyuan’s body,” according to Foreign Policy.

Liyuan accepted the gentlemanly act with smile, only to quickly, albeit smoothly, slip the shawl off into the hands of an attendant waiting near by.

The Chinese president was also sitting nearby but seemed to be too busy chatting with U.S. President Barack Obama to notice.

The video immediately took Chinese social media by storm, only to be scrubbed by Chinese state media censors within hours, according to reports. All references to the video of Putin’s interaction with Xi Xinping’s wife were sidelined, reported CNN.