SINGAPORE - In their first moments of meeting each other, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un both sought to project a sense of command but displayed some anxiety at the start of their high-stakes summit in Singapore.
Body language experts said that in the 13 seconds or so the US president held on to the hand of Kim for the first time, he projected his usual dominance by reaching out first, and patting the North Korean leader's shoulder.
Not to be outdone, Kim firmly pumped Trump's hand, looking him straight in the eye for the duration, before breaking off to face the media.
"It wasn't a straight-out handshake," said Allan Pease, an Australian body language expert and author of several books on the topic, including "The Definitive Guide to Body Language".
"It was up and down, there was an argy-bargy, each one was pulling the other closer. Each guy wasn't letting the other get a dominant grip," he told Reuters by telephone from Melbourne.
Trump and Kim are meeting in Singapore for historic talks aimed at finding a way to end a nuclear standoff on the Korean peninsula.
Should they succeed, it could bring lasting change to the security landscape of Northeast Asia, like the visit of former US President Richard Nixon to China in 1972 led to the transformation of China.