President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan held a short meeting today in Beijing. In the image above both men - but Xi Jinping in particular, are turning towards photographers. When World leaders meet, handshakes are contextualized differently compared with almost all other scenarios - yet any rapport garnered, via a handshake or otherwise is rarely more important. Facing the eyes, head, torso or lower body away from the other person and towards a camera in the midst of a handshake is profoundly disrespectful. Far too little emphasis and attention are placed on the interpersonal aspects of most all meetings - as if human beings were made of only fact and logic.
If we look at President Xi Jinping's face in the image above, the primary emotion he is displaying is that of disgust - while Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is expressing regret (can you discern these nonverbal components?)
In this second image which took place a few seconds earlier, we see Xi Jinping leaning considerably backwards during the initial seconds of a handshake - when he and Shinzō Abe - should be leaning slightly forward. This is also a rapport destroying configuration - betraying Xi Jinping's hesitancy, disrespect and relative non-engagement in the moment and for diplomacy with Abe and/or Japan.
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