- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is facing tough scrutiny from the South Korean press after a photo was released of him shaking President Park Geun-hye’s hand with his other hand in his pocket.

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.

Mr. Gates was in South Korea to represent the nuclear start-up TerraPower, while Ms. Park was seeking the Microsoft founder’s advice on her plans to build a “creative economy.”

The Telegraph reports that South Korea is a deeply hierarchical, Confucian society where etiquette has great significance.



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