Trudeau’s wide-stance pose with Korean politician splits critics | Justin Trudeau


Justin Trudeau’s hair has made international headlines, as have his fumbling handshakes and propensity to appear shirtless when cameras are near. Now, the Canadian prime minister’s well-mannered legs are getting their moment in the spotlight

Ahead of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Trudeau and a delegation of Canadian ministers were in South Korea to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, as well as an attempt to salvage a multibillion-dollar battery plant deal.

Before giving a speech to the national assembly, Trudeau posed for photographs with Korean politicians, including with the national assembly speaker, Kim Jin-pyo.

Amid the clatter of camera shutters, Kim raised on his tiptoes, poking fun at the 20cm (8in) height gap between the two leaders.

Trudeau bent momentarily down to Kim’s level, prompting laughter from the Korean delegation. He then spread his legs to put himself at a similar altitude to Kim, a move known in South Korea as “manner legs”, meant to level the height between two people.

Korean media largely praised the gesture, with the outlet Chosun calling it a “heartwarming scene” and YTN suggesting it showed a “caring” mindset.

The Canadian conservative outlet True North, however, wrote the meeting had “some Canadians accusing Trudeau of embarrassing Canada while abroad once again”.

It was not the first time the prime minister’s greetings with political leaders have received attention.

In February, a handshake with the Alberta premier, Danielle Smith, a fierce critic of the prime minister, quickly devolved into an awkward fumble.

Trudeau was also the first to effectively dodge former president Donald Trump’s forceful handshake strategy that left world leaders and political rivals looking bewildered. In their first meeting in 2017, Trudeau put a hand on Trump’s shoulder to brace himself.

And in 2016, Trudeau attempted to shake hands with former presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, awkwardly crossing his arms over and grabbing Peña Nieto’s wrong hand.

In his visit to Seoul, Trudeau also met with President Yoon Suk Yeol, pitching greater collaboration between the two nations, but also drawing distinctions over how the countries pursue gender equality and child care policies.

As part of the state visit, Trudeau visited the grave of Frank Schofield, a Canadian missionary who supported Korean independence from the Japanese empire and is the the first foreigner buried in the Seoul National Cemetery.