Wed, Nov 08, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Subtle digs at Japan on the menu for Trump in Seoul


South Korea’s state dinner for US President Donald Trump is pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo: AFP

If the preparations for US President Donald Trump’s state dinner in Seoul are any sign, he faces an uphill battle in trying to improve the often fractious ties between South Korea and Japan.

The menu for the four-course state banquet last night featured shrimp caught in waters off Dokdo, islands controlled by South Korea that are also claimed by Japan (where they are called Takeshima).

In a further provocation, one attendee was to be a woman who worked as a sex slave for the Japanese military during World War II.

Historians say anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 women — including Koreans and Taiwanese — served in Japan’s military brothels across Asia before and during the war.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in had called for a review of a 2015 deal in which Japan provided ¥1 billion (US$8.75 million) to support South Korean victims, and Tokyo has complained that its neighbor refuses to remove a “comfort woman” statue from in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

“The dinner was prepared to meet the highest respect and formality of a state visit with an aim to strengthen the close fellowship of the couples of the South Korean and American leaders and remind the significance of the solid alliance of South Korea-US,” the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

The menu also featured a special delicacy: soy sauce that the Blue House says is 360 years old — older than the US.

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