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Donald Trump's handshake is now well-known as one of the United States president's signature power plays, but in the Philippines he was left perplexed when forced to use both hands during the pageantry of a photocall. At first, he grabbed Xuan Phuc's hand with both of his.

'Give us your brightest smile, ' a master of ceremonies intoned as camera flashes popped.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday evening met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss the two countries' ties.

But Trump could not quite do that, nor could he muster the ritual greeting.

Instead of standing on risers, heads of state lined up for a traditional cross-body handshake, which appeared to baffle Trump until he figured out what to do with his arms.

In Brussels in May, Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in a jaw-clenching, face-tightening, knuckle-whitening handshake for six full seconds, with each man trying to claim the alpha status. Trump on his part described Modi as a friend."It's great to have Prime Minister Modi here". And while White House aides have been pleased with the president's messaging through stops in Japan, South Korea and China, Trump has brought Russian Federation to the forefront again as he makes his final stops.

Police in Manila used water cannon on around 1,000 demonstrators who were marching just a few kilometers away from the venue where Duterte, Trump and other Pacific allies were meeting.

Trump fumbled when it came to a carefully choreographed group photo with his fellow ASEAN leaders. But speaking to reporters Saturday as he flew from Danang, Vietnam, to Hanoi, Trump brought up the missed greeting unprompted, saying he simply hadn't heard the calls for him to shake hands with Merkel.

Asked Sunday if he believed reports that Duterte's government is conducting extrajudicial narcotics squad executions, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly would only say: 'We'll check it out'. "I actually get along really well with Angela".

Trump added that he would wait until his return to Washington on November 15 to present a "major statement" in regard to his Asia trip.