APEC's tradition of silly shirts was on full display.
As is custom, all the leaders of the 21 nations in the trade bloc donned matching, contextually appropriate outfits — in this instance, silk robes modeled on the Zhongshan suit popularized by Chairman Mao Zedong.
There were handshakes.
Here's President Obama with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan.
And then there was this really awkward one between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Xi.
Tensions have spiked between Japan and China — Asia's two largest economies — over a disputed archipelago in the East China Sea and other historical grievances. This was the first time that Xi and Abe met in public as the leaders of their nations. The former is a hard-liner, the latter a hawkish nationalist. Neither seem pleased.
You can watch it in its full, spectacular horror here:
But Russian President Vladimir Putin stole the show.
The tense Xi-Abe handshake was overshadowed by another incident: when Russian President Vladimir Putin threw a coat over the shoulders of the Chinese first lady. That act of gallantry proved awkward for Peng, who soon shrugged off the garment. And it launched a thousand jokes on Chinese social media, spurring state censors to pull video of the scene from news networks and micro-blogging sites.
Putin kept at it, planting more seeds.
Here he is at a group tree-planting ceremony in Beijing.
And the U.S. president couldn't catch a break.
People got in a tizzy about Obama chewing gum as he arrived at a formal banquet. "We made this meeting so luxurious, with singing and dancing, but see Obama, stepping out of his car chewing gum like an idler," wrote Yin Hong, a professor at one of Beijing's most prominent universities, on China's Twitter-equivalent Sina Weibo.
Despite the silly headlines this drew, Obama and U.S. officials appeared to have a productive time in China, paving the way for a new global tariff-cutting deal at the World Trade Organization worth as much as $1 trillion. The United States also expanded its visa program for Chinese citizens, which could win Americans tens of billions in tourist revenue.
Obama heads to Burma on Wednesday, where observers hope human rights may be more on the agenda than they were in Beijing.