S. Korea: Japan's Gripes Over Trump Dinner 'Inappropriate'

Prawns, a guest rankled Japan
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2017 12:10 PM CST
President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in toast at the start of a dinner at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – President Trump was on Tuesday served beef ribs with gravy that had 360-year-old soy sauce as an ingredient during South Korea's state dinner, and it came served with two sides of controversy. PRI reports it was the first state visit by a US president in 25 years, so South Korea made a big deal out of the dinner, along with some bold moves. The meal featured shrimp harvested near islands with disputed ownership: South Korea calls them Dokdo; Japan, Takeshima, reports the Guardian. And that wasn't the only snub Japan says it suffered. Trump was photographed greeting one of the evening's guests, Lee Yong-soo, an 88-year-old former "comfort woman" forced to have sex with Japanese servicemen. Japan reached a deal with South Korea to help survivors in 2015.

George Washington University political science professor Celeste Arrington sees Lee's presence as a calculated show of strength by South Korea: "There's been a lot of talk about how close [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe] and Trump are. The message was, 'Don't take us for granted ... We have national interests, too.'" A Japan government rep voiced the "need to avoid making moves that could negatively affect that close coordination," and the Guardian reports a complaint was registered via diplomatic channels. The AFP reports that Seoul's foreign ministry on Thursday dubbed Japan's comments regarding what it chose to serve at a state dinner "inappropriate."
(Read more South Korea stories.)

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