From: Ching-Yi Chang [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2016 05:13 PM
To: Gabriel, Brian
Subject: Foreign Pool Report - President Obama Greets ASEAN Leaders
The greetings by President Obama to 10 leaders from the ASEAN nations and the Secretary General of the ASEAN started around 3:20 PM PST instead of 3:00 PM which was the original schedule. And the greetings to 11 leaders lasted 18 minutes.
President Obama first greeted Secretary General Le Luong Minh, and then the leaders from Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Laos, and Brunei.
According an official from State Department, the order is arranged by how long they have been in the office. The leaders who stay longer in the office would be greeted later. For example, Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei has been in office for nearly 5 decades (he assumed office in 1967), so he was the last one to be greeted by President Obama.
None of 12 leaders wears a tie, including President Obama, but they all wear coats under the 90 degree sun of Sunnylands.
President Obama greeted and took photo with each leader a time. He chatted with everyone of them, and walked them into the Sunnylands Center one by one.
Here are some color. When President Obama warmly greeted President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Obama spoke Indonesian language, which you foreign pooler don’t quite understand; When he saw Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, he shouted “Najib” far away. And he also especially warmly welcomed the Prime Minister of Singapore, the President of Philippines, and the Sultan of Brunei. The reason may be that he knows them better.
One more color, President Obama always waved his hand when he took photos with the leaders; however, that is not the case when he greeted Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia. President Obama only shook his hand.
By the way, your foreign pooler thought you might find this interesting and amazing. Per the conversation with an U.S. official, the Sultan of Brunei actually piloted his jumbo airplane, which is bigger than Air Force One, to the airport of Palm Springs. And while most of the leaders arrived in Palm Springs by airplanes, three leaders actually came here by motorcade from Los Angeles.
Last but not least, the President of Myanmar does not attend the meeting, but his Vice President, Nyan Tun, came instead. Several leaders are at the end of their terms, Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, will step down in May, and the President of Philippines, Benigno Aquino, will leave office soon, too.
White House Correspondent & Chief Editor
US News Center
Shanghai Media Group (SMG)