Culture

Tokyo Furious Over Korean State Dinner for Trump

Tokyo Furious Over Korean State Dinner for Trump”

It's widely known that President Donald Trump prefers ketchup with his steak, but he was treated to an altogether new condiment in South Korea the other night.

Trump dined on a four-course meal filled with local delicacies at Tuesday night's state dinner in Seoul.

The dinner, at the presidential Blue House compound next to a former royal palace, included a beef rib dish accompanied by a gravy made with an "exquisite, 360-year-old soy sauce", said a spokesman for Seoul's presidential office.

Worse in the eyes of the nationalists in Japan was the invitation to a state dinner for Trump on Tuesday of a victim of imperial Japan's sexual enslavement of women during World War II. Lee had a brief encounter with the USA president, smiling up at Trump as he gave her a hug, with Moon watching from the side.

The rightwing Sankei Shimbun called the state dinner "an anti-Japanese banquet". "President Trump is seen embracing grandmother Lee Yong-soo, the real-life protagonist of the film 'I Can Speak'".

The Seoul-controlled island off the east coast - called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan - is at the heart of a decades-long territorial dispute between the two countries, both of them U.S. allies who are confronted by the threat of nuclear-armed North Korea.

While South Koreans may have felt pride in the dish, the Japanese were not amused, hailing the meal as "anti-Japanese" and stating that the Korean government had "poured cold water on the relationship between Japan and the U.S." in their efforts to retain their claim of the islets.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo need "close cooperation at this time" to respond to the North Korean issue and "avoid any moves that could have adverse effects on trilateral cooperation".

Not only that, but it is also claimed it will include a prawn which was caught near an island, ownership of which is disputed by South Korea and Japan.

Lee, a Daegu native, has said she was taken by Japanese soldiers as a teenager in 1944 and forced to serve as a sex slave at a Japanese army unit in Taiwan.

The plight of so-called "comfort women" is a hugely emotional issue that has also marred ties between Seoul and Tokyo for decades.



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