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What Trump’s State Dinner in Seoul Says About South Korea-Japan Tensions

  • Shrimp caught off disputed islands will be dished up
  • A wartime ‘comfort woman’ is on the guest list for dinner
Pine mushroom rice in a stone pot with grilled beef seasoned with a special sauce made with a 360-year-old soy sauce.
Pine mushroom rice in a stone pot with grilled beef seasoned with a special sauce made with a 360-year-old soy sauce.Source: Office of the President, Republic of Korea

If the preparations for 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 on Tuesday night features 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 will be a woman forced to work as a sex slave for the Japanese military during World War II.