The East Asia Summit in Singapore on Wednesday and Thursday touched on a number of regional and international issues, including cyberattacks, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, economic and infrastructure projects, and environmental issues.
Vice-President Pence represented the US at the summit, focusing much of his time on the feud with China over the South China Sea. President Putin, for his part, held talks with several Asian leaders about energy, security and defense cooperation, and cooperation between the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and the ASEAN nations.
Putin offered a more detailed account: "President Trump and I were able to participate in [the] general discussion [in Paris on Sunday] in quite a meaningful way. We talked about security, economic development, regional issues. Now, with the vice-president, we touched on roughly the same subjects. One of the key problems, undoubtedly, is the issue of strategic stability; we must understand what happened to the START-3 Treaty, we must understand what will happen within the framework of the [Intermediate Nuclear Forces] treaty, and how events will unfold here. We undoubtedly need a dialogue at the highest level, at the expert level. We are ready to restore full-scale work as far as our American partners are willing to take it," he said.
But it was the tone of the discussion, rather than its serious subject matter, which seemed to interest social media users most.
Specifically, many users attacked Bolton for his "giddy" appearance, saying he looked "like a teenage girl meeting her celebrity crush," or launching into conspiracy theories about Russia-Trump 'collusion', with anti-Trump campaigner Scott Dworkin going so far as to claim that the mere fact of a meeting of US officials with Putin constituted "treason."
WATCH: John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor, looks giddy as he meets Vladimir Putin. Why? pic.twitter.com/AJu3sEvoHj— Millennial Politics (@MillenPolitics) 16 ноября 2018 г.
Bolton resembles a giddy Lorax pic.twitter.com/qDv683hzt2— Michael de la Torre (@MikedelaTorre) 15 ноября 2018 г.
Bolton looks like a teenage girl meeting her celebrity crush..— Molly ♒🔥🐯 (@MsMollyRachael) 15 ноября 2018 г.
BREAKING: Mike Pence and John Bolton met with Putin today. Because, treason. pic.twitter.com/3hJQozyrEU— Scott Dworkin (@funder) 15 ноября 2018 г.
Others went after the vice president, with ABC latenight host Jimmy Kimmel calling the Russian president "Pence's new buddy," while British tabloid media focused on the "steely glare" the vice-president seemed to give Putin.
Pence is pretty impressive here by comparison. He is giving Putin the evil stare…obviously thinking how this plays back home. Bolton is a big old cuddly softy, he just cannot help himself. Pretty embarrassing for Bolton. https://t.co/ZTS22Nfg81— Timothy Ash (@tashecon) 16 ноября 2018 г.
Pence stare down isn’t working.. Putin distracted by animated eyebrows & mustache of Yosemite Sam.#Fail— Jerigirl (@jerigirlwow) 16 ноября 2018 г.
Finally, only a handful of users actually bothered to perform an elementary search for clues about what the three men said to one another, which, as mentioned above, turned out to include an important discussion about arms control.