Watch Putin and Obama Offend the Chinese at Beijing Conference

Gum chewing and alleged flirtation gaffes at economic summit.

November 11, 2014, 12:24 PM

— -- Forget the closed-door meetings and trade negotiations: the real drama at the Asia summit came from world leaders in front of the cameras.

Chinese President Xi Jinping played host, but his guests President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin committed some diplomatic faux pas.

Ever-watchful observers in protocol-driven China were quick to notice certain slights that others with a more casual interpretation of manners may have missed.

Thankfully, all of these mishaps were caught on camera.

The president's armored limousine, dubbed "The Beast," is a familiar sight when Obama travels abroad, but this time it was not a welcome one.

All of the other world leaders accepted rides in the chauffeured cars ordered through Red Flag limousine, but not Obama. He opted to use his own ride out of security concerns, but that rationale did not necessarily translate fully as USA Today reports that some Chinese bloggers blasted the move online.

The choice of limo may have been somewhat understandable, the fact that the American president was seen chewing gum as he entered the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference on Monday was considered to gauche.

Obama is a known user of Nicorette gum in an effort to fight off his cigarette cravings, but USA Today reported that some local bloggers thought he looked like "an idler" or a "rapper" when he arrived at the grand event.

Possibly the most offensive moment came from Putin, however, when he placed a shawl on the shoulders of Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan.

Many would consider the move a chivalrous one, but some Chinese saw it as inappropriately flirtatious. Liyuan graciously accepted the shawl in the moment, but as soon as Putin turned, she slipped it off and handed it to a nearby aide, according to CNN.

Even more telling was the fact that though the outdoor evening event was broadcast live, all traces of it were virtually erased by this morning, according to CNN.

Putin and Obama weren't the only ones making viewers cringe during the ongoing summit, however. China's President Jinping and his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, could barely contain their contempt when the shook hands.

The two gentlemen didn't put on any airs when they greeted each other Monday, with no smiles in sight.

Their meeting was the first time they have met since taking office in the fall of 2012.

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