Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shake hands at APEC summit in Vietnam

10 November 2017, 14:20

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have shaken hands at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam.

The two men spoke briefly at a photo call for the world leaders attending the summit in the city of Danang.

The US President was seen giving his Russian counterpart a friendly slap on the shoulder as the two men stood next to each other for the family photo ahead of Friday's dinner.

The White House had previously said there would be no formal meeting between the two countries at the summit due to scheduling conflicts.

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"In terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there's not one on the calendar and we don't anticipate that there will be one," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said before Mr Trump arrived at the summit.

A Kremlin spokesman also said the two leaders had not held any talks yet and had merely greeted one another.

The leaders' handshake comes less than a fortnight after two former aides to Mr Trump were charged as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Mr Trump has repeatedly insisted that there was "no collusion" between his election campaign team and the Kremlin.

Moscow has denied any interference in the US democratic process.

The two leaders have met on a number of occasions since Mr Trump took office in January and have both praised each other in the past.

In contrast the relationship between Mr Putin and former US President Barack Obama was more strained.

At the end of his term Mr Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their involvement in hacking political groups.

Mr Trump is attending the APEC summit during an 11-day tour of Asia in which he will visit five countries.

In a speech earlier on Friday the US President hit out at what he called "chronic trade abusers" and the World Trade Organisation.

Mr Trump said the neglect of WTO rules "hurt many people" in the US and said the country would not "be taken advantage of anymore".

Although he did not mention China by name his speech was seen by some as a criticism of Beijing, the previous stop on his Asia tour.

The tour, which will conclude with a visit to the Philippines, has been largely dominated by discussion of the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.