“What are you doing with the protocol team?” The photo of President Yao with his eyes closed on the official NATO homepage…

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[이데일리 송혜수 기자] A photo taken the moment President Yoon Seok-yeol closed his eyes was posted on the official website of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), sparking controversy.

President Yun Seok-yeol, who visited Spain to attend the NATO summit, is taking a commemorative photo with the heads of four Asia-Pacific partners and NATO Secretary-General at the Ifema Convention Center in Madrid on the 29th (local time). From left) Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanage, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and President Yun (Photo Credit=NATO official website)

Following U.S. President Joe Biden’s so-called ‘No Look handshake’, the meeting with NATO Secretary-General was suddenly postponed, and President Yoon waited for 30 minutes before turning away, raising concerns that it was a ‘diplomatic disrespect’.

On the 29th (local time), NATO’s official website showed that President Yoon met NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanage, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and others during the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain. Photos taken together as partners in four countries were posted.

This is the only photo of NATO and its Asia-Pacific partner summit, showing President Yoon alone with his eyes closed. All the other leaders standing next to President Yoon were smiling brightly. In response, many online communities criticized whether it was diplomatic rudeness or not.

A significant number of netizens commented, “Did NATO upload an official picture like this?” “The protocol team doesn’t work” “It may not have taken only one picture, but I wonder why he uploaded that picture” “The protocol team should be asking for an official inquiry Isn’t it?” and voiced criticism.

President Yoon Seok-yeol greets U.S. President Joe Biden before a commemorative photo at a gala dinner hosted by the Spanish king and wife at the Royal Palace in Madrid, on the 28th (local time). (Photo = NATO Summit Secretariat video capture)

Meanwhile, President Yoon was scheduled to meet with Secretary General Stoltenberg at the IFEMA Exhibition and Convention Center in Madrid, Spain at 6 pm on the 28th (local time) to discuss ways to strengthen Korea-NATO cooperation. However, as NATO abruptly postponed the interview, President Yoon waited for over 30 minutes at the scene and turned around.

Regarding this, some pointed out, “Isn’t the protocol wrong?” and “Isn’t it diplomatic disrespect?” However, an official from the presidential office explained, “There could be such a controversy under normal circumstances, but the issue of NATO accession (situation) became very tense.”

He added, “If you schedule a schedule in a situation where multilateral diplomacy is frantic, unavoidable circumstances arise and there are things that have a chain effect,” he said.

Prior to this, President Biden’s “no-look handshake” was also controversial. The day before, President Biden had his first greeting with President Yoon at a welcome dinner hosted by the King of Spain. According to a YouTube video of the situation at the time, President Biden, who was the last to enter, shook hands with President Yoon as he walked to find his seat in the center.

In the process, President Biden’s eyes were on Bulgarian President Lumen Radev, who was next to shake hands. As a result, there was an argument that President Biden was only formally handed over, and whether it was a ‘no-look handshake’. On the other hand, some criticized that President Biden was the first to greet President Yoon among the summits he had been waiting for at the podium.

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