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Summary

BEIJING: A couple of brief encounters between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin during an Asia-Pacific summit in China on Tuesday spoke volumes about the chilly state of relations between the United States and Russia. 

With the two men crossing paths twice this week, first in Beijing and later at a G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, there was little chance they could avoid interacting on the international stage — and with the eyes of the world press and fellow leaders upon them. 

Obama and Putin have never had anything close to personal chemistry, and with tensions high especially over Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine, there was little warmth on display in their informal contacts at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum. 

When the summit opened in a sprawling convention centre at a lake outside Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping walked in with Obama and Putin, both unsmiling, on either side of him. 

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