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The World

Japan, South Korea and President Trump


When Donald Trump visited Japan and South Korea in early November 2017, he hailed the strength of the USA’s Asian alliances in tackling the threat from North Korea.


But soon after he left the region, South Korea and Japan began squabbling over the shrimp the president was served in South Korea.  Less than a day after Trump left the South Korean capital for Beijing, Japanese diplomats lodged a protest with their South Korean counterparts over the decision to serve the USA leader shrimp from the Dokdo Islands, tiny rock islands in the Sea of Japan—claimed by both South Korea and Japan!


During the main course, a single shrimp (circled in red), plated on a stone dish, made a bold statement, as it was said to have been caught off the Dokdo Islands.




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 USA” in its efforts to retain its claim to the islands.


“We didn’t even know that kind of shrimp existed,” said one Japanese diplomat, adding that South Korea was deliberately needling Japan with its well-publicized decision to serve the USA leader with food from the disputed islands.


In response to the official Japanese protest, as well as press inquiries about the decision to serve Dokdo Shrimp, a South Korean foreign affairs ministry spokesman, said: “We have decided the menu of a state dinner and invited guests considering various elements overall, so it is inappropriate to raise questions about this kind of matter.”


Sources: 1. Financial Times.  Japan Clashes with South Korea over Shrimp Snub at Trump Dinner.  Dryan Harris (in Seoul, South Korea, with additional reporting by Kang Buseong).  November 9, 2017.  2. Next Shark.  South Korea Threw Major Shade at Japan With a Shrimp During Trump’s Dinner.  Heather Johnson Yu (Email  November 8, 2017.  3. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, November 10, 2017.


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