Beijing: There were fireworks at display both on and off stage at an APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) event in Beijing, when Russian President Vladimir Putin slipped a shawl over the shoulder of China First Lady Peng Liyuan, while Xi Jinping, unaware of it all, chatted with US President Barack Obama.
Putin, an ex-KGB agent, might have just wanted to flaunt his etiquettes as a gentleman when he draped an ash-coloured shawl over Chinese First Lady's shoulder to keep her from the biting cold of a chilly night. However, in what can be assumed to be a polite rebuff, Peng Liyuan accepted the shawl at first, only to get up after few seconds and remove the shawl offered by the Russian President.
The Chinese First Lady was then seen covering herself with a black-coloured coat passed on to her by her aide.
The incident, which appeared to be a warm gesture by Putin gone awry, took place during one of the events held at APEC summit in Beijing Monday night when the world dignitaries were seated to watch a fireworks show.
Putin, who was reportedly said to have awkward encounters with US President Barack Obama at the APEC summit, sought to display warmth by his shawl offer gesture to the wife of Xi Jinping - premier of an ally country China.
The chutzpah generated by the incident went viral online with many sharing the video and cracking jokes over it. Initially the video was broadcast on state TV in China, but the authorities were quick to act and it was taken off Chinese internet soon.
Russian President, who is also an ex-KGB agent is known to be popular among women due to his macho image, while Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan is a well known folk singer in China and enjoys a celeb status.
It may be noted that it was in June this year that Putin finalised his divorce with wife Lyudmila (married for for 30 years)
In 2008 there were rumours that Putin had secretly divorced his wife and was planning to marry former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva. However, he had denied any such claims.