Saturday, November 12, 2011

President Obama, First Lady At 2011 APEC Leaders Dinner Arrival Ceremony

Security issues delay arrivals of APEC Leaders for Power Luau...
On a warm, breezy evening in Honolulu, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeted the APEC leaders arriving at the Hale Koa Hotel for the 2011 APEC Leaders Dinner, prepared by chef Alan Wong and served in a dramatically lit tent on the vast lawn of the military hotel. The Arrival Ceremony was delayed by security issues: Spouses/companions had not been properly credentialed for the dinner. Beginning at 6:45 PM, the arrivals lasted almost an hour, due to delays with getting the spouses through. Above: The President and Mrs. Obama recive applause as they arrive lead the way into the dinner.

To greet their guests, the First Couple stood under the spreading branches of a rubber tree, with the President in the same dark suit and striped tie he wore earlier for his day of meetings. Mrs. Obama wore a strapless dress that appeared to be made of raw silk. It was pewter colored from the waist down, with a lighter silver bodice, separated by a beaded belt. The dress was topped with a pink sash that wrapped asymmetrically around the top of her dress, over one arm and under the other.

Long waits between Leaders' arrivals...
While the names of APEC Leaders' souses were on a list, they did not have proper security tags, and there was a mad scramble among officials to rectify this, reported Honolulu Civil Beat. So the President and Mrs. Obama would greet a few leaders, and then wait for the next set to appear, as the spouses slowly received security clearance. Above: Posing with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen Harper.

The greetings were casual.

"Guys, how are you?" The President said to the Harpers.

APEC Leaders attending the event without dinner dates obviously got through the line immediately.

Each Leader was announced by a military aide, and then walked forward to the Obamas, who each offered greetings and in some cases hugs. They all then turned to the gathered photographers and posed for a photo. Above: Greeting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her "domestic partner" Tim Mathieson; they are not married.

First in line was the leader of Taiwan and his wife, followed by Singapore, Thailand (both stag) and New Guinea.

The President and Mrs. Obama then stepped away for a few minutes. They returned to greet more leaders, taking breaks after a every handful of leaders, due to the security SNAFU.

Above: Greeting South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok, who were honored with a State Visit and State Dinner at the White House in October.

Pool reported President Hu Jintao of China looking "somewhat stiff" as he approached and greeted the Obamas. A translator came over to facilitate conversation. Earlier in the day, Hu had a bilateral with President Obama, their first meeting since Hu was honored with a State Visit and State Dinner at the White House last January, and their ninth visit overall.

Thanks to the security issues, the Arrival Ceremony took nearly an hour. Above: President Demitry Medvedev of Russia got a slap on the arm as a welcome from President Obama.

After the arrivals, the guests were seated under the tent, and the dinner began with the President making a welcoming toast.

The arrivals, and the President's toast:



*AP photos