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Australian senators have grilled foreign ministry officials over their boss Julie Bishop’s use of a red-faced emoji to describe Vladimir Putin.
Some lawmakers said this suggested Ms Bishop was angry at the Russian president and this could even endanger diplomatic relations with Moscow.
Ms Bishop, an avid emoji user, deployed the popular icon in an all-emoji interview with Buzzfeed in February.
It has already been described as emoji diplomacy by some commentators.
The questioning on the unusual subject happened at a Senate committee on Thursday.
Labor Senator Penny Wong asked the foreign ministry officials said she wanted to know why Ms Bishop used the “red-faced” sign.
“Is it intended to suggest the foreign minister is angry at President Putin?” Senator Wong asked.
“It may be that the foreign minister is saying she’s angry with him, it may be that she thinks he’s a red-faced angry man, I don’t know,” she added.
Liberal Senator George Brandis joined in by saying: “It’s red – not angry.”
“It’s red and angry,” parried Labor Senator Sam Dastyari. “The red is symbolic of angry – that’s my interpretation.”
Julie Bishop later tweeted a promise to translate the emoji language to the senators.