World leaders discuss global trade. Internet cares more about their outfits.

Abbott at APEC
Top L to R: Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak. Bottom L to R: Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, China’s President Xi Jinping. Andrew Meares (Photo: Getty images.)

Sometimes it’s like that. Important things are being discussed, and we’re distracted by the detail.

As world leaders arrived  at the APEC summit in Beijing to discuss all the actually-important issues (like a possible free-trade deal with China), the Internet’s attention was caught by this one epic image.


The snap shows world leaders posing in traditional Chinese dress — but Twitter is enjoying the moment, with users remarking that the image it resembles a cheesy cast promo picture for a Star Trek film.

At 2014 Star Trek fan convention #APEC, Putin challenges Obama: “I look the most like Jean-Luc Picard,” Jake Adelstein tweeted.

“Did retired Star Trek wardrobe consultants help[?] Obama and Xi looking fabulously awkward at APEC,” Trey Menefee

Journalist Andrew Peng tweeted rather aptly that the event looked like the “most awkward economic summit of the year and the worst Star Trek movie ever”.

He also compared the rather noteable traditional outfits to those worn by George W Bush during a previous APEC summit:


Ten points for hilarity, Internet.

Commentators were also quick to point out that, despite the close encounter between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Russian President Vladimir Putin, no “shirt-fronting” had taken place.

So far, just some awkward front-buttoning.