Japan to Inter-Korean Summit: Do Not Serve Offensive Dessert
Japan is upset over South Korea’s choice of dessert for April 27’s summit with North Korean leaders. According to the BBC, Japan’s foreign ministry has issued a protest over one menu item: the “Spring of the People” mango mousse. The sweet dish features a map of the Korean peninsula — complete with islands that are currently controlled by South Korea but also claimed by Japan.
Called Takeshima by the Japanese and Dokdo by the South Koreans, this group of sparsely inhabited islands in the Sea of Japan (or the East Sea, as it is known in South Korea) are a significant point of tension between Seoul and Tokyo. The conflicting claims to the islands have led to disputes over fisheries and mineral rights. “It is extremely regrettable,” a Japanese foreign ministry spokeswoman said to Reuters about the offending menu item. “We have asked that the dessert not be served.”
The summit between North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in is already heavy with tension, as the men will be discussing Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. The dessert gaffe comes at a time of immense strain between the two Koreas, Japan, and their global allies over a wide range of diplomatic issues.
Because the summit is meant to focus on peace and cooperation between the two Koreas, perhaps everyone would be better off kicking back with a shot of soju and one of the foods people eat in North Korea.