APEC Leaders Skip Aloha Shirts

Posted November 14th, 2011 at 4:25 am (UTC-5)
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News photographers covering this year's APEC summit were denied the hoped-for spectacle of seeing some of the world's most powerful leaders decked out in colorful Hawaiian shirts.

U.S. President Barack Obama followed Japan's lead, set last year, by skipping the tradition of having APEC leaders pose for a group picture clad in the host country's traditional garb.

Members of the media had expected the Asia-Pacific leaders to turn out in garish floral-patterned shirts. But instead the dignitaries arrived for the annual photo session in their customary business attire.

The tradition started in 1993, when President Bill Clinton handed out bomber jackets for leaders to wear in their group photo. Since then, the leaders have had to appear in Chilean ponchos, Singaporean shirts with mandarin collars, South Korean silk overcoats and sailing jackets in New Zealand.

Mr. Obama said he looked at pictures of some of the previous APEC meetings and decided this was a tradition he might like to end.

The leaders also skipped the tradition at last year's APEC summit in Yokohama, Japan.