The picture of the meet-and-greet was plastered all over front pages in the country, the London Telegraph reports, with some organizations going so far as cropping Mr. Gates pocketed hand out of the photo altogether.
“Cultural difference, or an act of disrespect?” said the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, according to The Telegraph.
Another newspaper, the Dong-A Ilbo, wrote “Disrespectful handshake? Casual handshake?” next to the photo.
Other Koreans ran to Mr. Gates‘ defense.
“Gates is a casual man who’s not bound by customs so he shakes hands in this manner even when meeting heads of international organisations or top political figures,” Dong-A Ilbo quoted an unnamed friend of the billionaire as saying.
The Telegraph reports that South Korea is a deeply hierarchical, Confucian society where etiquette has great significance.