Cringe-worthy moments of APEC caught on camera

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping as he arrives for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting at Yanqi Lake, north of Beijing on Nov. 11, 2014.


BEIJING -- Whenever you have so many world leaders gathered together, the sometimes-strained relationships can play out in any number of ways, but can often be summed-up in one simple word: awkward.

There are always the planned photo opportunities, but as CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports, there are also impromptu, and sometimes cringe-worthy, moments caught by the waiting cameras.

Obama meets with rivals Putin and Xi in China

The much-anticipated handshake between China's President Xi Jinping and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seemed to define "uncomfortable."

The countries have been at-odds over territorial disputes and the "handshake" seemed as chilly as the waters of the East China Sea, where both nations claim a handful of uninhabited but strategic islands.

When President Obama donned a Chinese silk suit -- likened to a fancy Star Trek costume -- his gum-chewing managed to overshadow even the remarkable outfit. Some Chinese bloggers lambasted his behavior as "vulgar."

And late-night television hosts took a jab, too, with Steven Colbert reminding his viewers that, "as we all learned in grade school, if you want to chew gum, you bring enough for everybody. That's 1.3 billion sticks. I assume they like Big Red."

The prickly relationship between Russia and the U.S., marked by sanctions and disagreements over Ukraine, played-out in frosty body language between the two leaders.

"They're both in China at the same time," quipped David Letterman. "It's like running into your ex-girlfriend on vacation."

Putin offered a shawl to a rather chilly Chinese first lady. Madame Peng Liyuan quickly shed the shawl, but not before the exchange went viral.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin helps put a shawl on Peng Liyuan, wife of China's President Xi Jinping
Russia's President Vladimir Putin helps put a shawl on Peng Liyuan, wife of China's President Xi Jinping, as they watch watch a lights and fireworks show to celebrate Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting, at National Aquatics Center, or Water Cube, in Beijing, November 10, 2014. REUTERS

This being China, however, the video was censored and comments about a seemingly "flirty" move were deleted.

It's hardly the first time summits and state visits have showcased awkward interactions. There was the time President George W. Bush gave the German chancellor a quick back rub, and who can forget 1992, when President H. W. Bush fell ill, and into the lap of Japan's leader.

The coordinating "APEC outfits" over the years are deserving of their own story but, ultimately, this is all about diplomacy, and a simple "hello" in the host's language can go a long way.

Mr. Obama did get that right. "Ni hao," he told the host of this year's summit -- which has been marked as ever by statesmanship, and awkwardness.