Letter From the Editors: Nov. 13 - 19, 2017

Author: Laurence Bogoslaw

Dissed in Danang? Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in APEC.

The two-day APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam seems to have covered many bases, according to Kira Latukhina’s reporting in Rossiiskaya gazeta: The leaders in attendance talked mainly about economic issues, including the digital economy and global finance (the latter with high-profile guest Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF). They also reaffirmed innovation, science and technology as driving forces behind economic growth and investment. Discussions even touched on terrorism, energy markets and prospects for regional development - issues that affect what happens to millions of people.

And yet what caught the Russian media’s attention more was what didn’t happen between just two people: Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The Moscow side was clearly expecting a one-on-one meeting, as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters before the summit: "We are hearing statements from Donald Trump to the effect that he plans to meet with President Putin. President Putin is ready for this.. .. [Our] protocol services are in contact." The leaders did meet briefly on the sidelines several times - shaking hands, exchanging pleasantries, posing for photos - and at the end even signed a joint declaration on Syria. But they never sat down for real "talks." Putin publicly blamed the two countries’ protocol services for failing to coordinate the presidents’ schedules.

However, according to a diplomatic source interviewed by The New Times, it would have been easy to arrange a conversation just by setting up a table with Russian and US flags on it: "We all remember how Putin and Obama met at a summit in Antalya. .. - they just sat in armchairs in the hall and talked for about 20 minutes. All it takes is the desire."

Eyewitnesses reported that Putin was not in a good mood when he left Danang. Apparently, he felt not only dissed by Donald, ...

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