11:03 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with US Vice-President Mike Pence as Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton looks on.

    Twitter Bashes Bolton's 'Giddy' Glance, Pence's 'Steely Glare' in Talks w/ Putin

    © AP Photo / Yong Teck Lim
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    Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton and Vice-President Mike Pence had a brief, lively and seemingly warm conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore on Thursday, leading social media to wonder exactly what the three men talked about.

    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.

    The highlight of the summit proved to be the brief, informal discussion between Putin, Pence and Bolton, with Pence press secretary Alyssa Farah offering few details on the talks, saying they focused on the upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina.

    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."

    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.

    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.


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