IN PHOTOS: Handshakes that shook the world

Agence France-Presse

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IN PHOTOS: Handshakes that shook the world


US President Donald Trump's handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore marks a historic moment

SINGAPORE – Donald Trump’s handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday, June 12, marked a historic moment – the first meeting ever between a sitting US president and the leader of North Korea.

The US president’s often-awkward handshakes with world leaders have sparked ridicule but many hope the one with Kim – the culmination of months of dramatic diplomacy – will lead to durable peace on the Korean peninsula.

Here are some other handshakes that shook the world:

HISTORIC. This screen grab from the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) taken on April 27, 2018 shows North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un (L) and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in shaking hands at the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries at Panmunjeom. File photo by Korean Broadcasting System/AFP

The Koreas: Kim-Moon (2018)

On April 27, 2018, as the world held its breath, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in reached across the Military Demarcation Line that divides the two Koreas and shook hands, the result of a remarkable thaw on the peninsula sparked by the Winter Olympics earlier this year.

Kim then stepped over the border for a summit with the South Korean president, making him the first leader from Pyongyang to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended in an armistice 65 years ago.

The two leaders agreed to pursue permanent peace and the complete denuclearisation of the divided Korean peninsula.

MAKING HEADLINES. US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro (2ndL) after delivering his speech during the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on December 10, 2013. File photo by Odd Andersen/AFP

US, Cuba: Obama-Castro (2013)

At a memorial service for Nelson Mandela on December 10, 2013, US President Barack Obama made headlines when he shook hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro, the first such public greeting between leaders of the bitter neighbors after decades of enmity.

Within months there was a rapid thaw. Full diplomatic relations were restored in July 2015, followed by once-unthinkable steps to mend ties.

Obama visited Cuba in 2016 – the first such trip by an American president in 88 years.

Washington also relaxed its decades-long embargo on the communist-ruled island, and US airlines resumed direct flights to Havana in November 2016.

RECONCILIATION. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (2nd R) shakes hands with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (L) watched by First Minister Peter Robinson (2nd L) and Prince Philip (R) at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on June 27, 2012. The initial handshake between the queen and McGuinness took place away from the media spotlight behind closed doors in Belfast's Lyric theatre. File photo by Paul Faith/AFP

N. Ireland: Elizabeth II-McGuinness (2012)

In a landmark moment in the Northern Ireland peace process, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II met Martin McGuinness, a former top commander in the paramilitary Irish Republican Army during the many years of bloody hostilities with British forces.

The IRA wanted an end to British rule in the province, and for it to be merged with the Republic of Ireland. McGuinness later became one of the figures that helped negotiate an end to the violence.

Then a deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, McGuinness shook hands with the Queen during her June 27, 2012 visit to the province.

It was a gesture towards reconciliation that would once have been unimaginable, with McGuinness’ militant past and British security operations still a source of anger for many.

WITNESS. US President Bill Clinton (C) stands between PLO leader Yasser Arafat (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin (L) as they shake hands for the first time, on September 13, 1993 at the White House in Washington DC, after signing the historic Israel-PLO Oslo Accords on Palestinian autonomy in the occupied territories. File photo by J. David Ake/AFP

Israel, Palestinians: Arafat-Rabin (1993)

After months of secret negotiations in Norway, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat stood in the South Lawn of the White House on September 13, 1993 to witness the signing of the Oslo Accords.

And then, in one of the most dramatic moments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with US president Bill Clinton’s arms stretched around both leaders, Arafat and Rabin shook hands.

The abortive process granted autonomy to the occupied Palestinian territories without creating a separate state.

Rabin was assassinated two years later by a Jewish extremist opposed to the peace process, which faltered in the years that followed.

TURNING POINT. In this file photo, Israeli Premier Menahem Begin (r) and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadate shake hands and joke 20 November 1977 in Jerusalem during Egypt's President historic visit to Israel. N/B B/W / AFP PHOTO / FILES-IPPA

Egypt, Israel: Sadat-Begin (1977)

In what is widely considered a major turning point in the recent history of the Middle East, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat arrived in Israel on November 19, 1977 on a historic visit – the first by an Arab head of state to the Jewish nation.

Images of Sadat shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during the visit were transmitted around the world. The visit led to the first Arab-Israel peace treaty and the formal end to the state of war that had existed between the two countries for 30 years.

Sadat paid for it with his life: he was assassinated by Islamists in 1981. –

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