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All abuzz over Putin's 'Coatgate'

FAUX PAS OR CHIVALRY? Mr Putin was seen putting a coat on the shoulders of Chinese First Lady Peng at a diplomatic dinner on Monday.


    Nov 12, 2014

    All abuzz over Putin's 'Coatgate'

    ADD this to the list of things not to do at a diplomatic dinner: Russian President Vladimir Putin has set the international media and Internet abuzz by putting his coat on the shoulders of China's First Lady, Peng Liyuan.

    In a video shown on China's state broadcaster CCTV, Chinese President Xi Jinping is deep in conversation with United States President Barack Obama via a translator at the dinner on Monday. Ms Peng is seated to the left of her husband, with the newly single Mr Putin beside her. The Russian leader announced his divorce last year.

    Mr Putin later reaches under the table and drapes a tan coat over Ms Peng's shoulders. They exchange words, but it is not clear what they are saying.

    A commentator said in Mandarin: "We just saw President Putin specially draping a coat on Peng Liyuan."

    Seconds later, Ms Peng slips the coat off and hands it to an attendant while discreetly replacing it with a black coat.

    Foreign Policy wrote of the incident on its website: "The first unspoken rule of diplomacy might be 'Don't hit on the president's wife', but Russia's newly single President Vladimir Putin seems to have missed the memo."

    The magazine also said the video began circulating online, but within hours, censors had pulled it off Chinese social media and websites.

    The international media has already dubbed the incident "Coatgate".

    Chinese site said it could have just been an act of chivalry for the Russian leader, who did the same for German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a Group of 20 Summit in St Petersburg last year.