South Korea crafted a very sumptuous, very symbolic menu for the meal that would be be shared by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in during their historic summit on April 27. However, Japan has taken issue with the the dessert.
The South Korean press published photos on April 25 showing the dessert that the two leaders would be served during the summit in the border town Panmunjom where they will talk, about other things, the North’s nuclear programme. In Japan, there was immediate outrage about the mango mousse cake… because it was decorated by a map of the two Koreas, featuring islands claimed by Japan.
In Korea, the islands are known as Dokdo, while, in Japan, they are known as Takeshima. Located 87 kilometres from the Korean peninsula and 157 kilometres from Japan, the Dokdo/Takeshima islands may contain rich deposits of natural gas. Since the end of World War II, they’ve been under South Korean control, but Japan has virulently contested it.
According to the website Asialyst, the menu for the meal that Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in will share was chosen carefully to allude to a strengthening of ties between the two countries.
However, Japan responded angrily when this menu rich in symbols was released.
“It is extremely regrettable,” said a Japanese foreign ministry spokeswoman. “We have asked that the dessert not be served.”
In reaction, Koreans launched a protest in front of the Japanese consulate in Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, decrying the interference of Japanese government in Korean affairs. South Korea announced no intention of changing the menu.