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Korean summit: Japan objects to mango dessert decorated with controversial map

Tokyo has protested about the mango mousse because the dish features a map of the Korean Peninsula that includes a contested island that is claimed by Japan

world Updated: Apr 26, 2018 14:11 IST
Guests will be served a dish from the hometown of the three South Korean presidents who will have hosted an inter-Korean summit.
Guests will be served a dish from the hometown of the three South Korean presidents who will have hosted an inter-Korean summit.(Twitter Photo)

Japan has lodged a formal protest against Seoul’s choice of dessert for Friday’s historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, the media reported on Thursday.

Tokyo has protested about the mango mousse because the dish features a map of the Korean Peninsula that includes a contested island that is claimed by Japan, reports CNN.

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that Kenji Kanasugi, the Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, had told the South Korean Embassy that the inclusion of Takeshima, or Dokdo island, was “very regrettable” and “not acceptable”.

Japan says that South Korea is illegally occupying the rocky islands that lie east of the peninsula and it was an issue that has long soured relations between the two countries.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha brushed off the complaint during an interview on Thursday, telling CNN that it was a “non-issue”.

Images released by South Korea on Wednesday show a similar map on the top of specially designed chairs which seat Moon and Kim when they meet at the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two countries.

The Japanese have complained about those as well, CNN reported.

Seoul has spared no effort in its preparations for the summit, the first time the leaders of North and South Korea have met in more than a decade.

In the room in the Peace House where they will meet, the normal rectangular table has been replaced by an oval one. Moon’s office hopes the shape will encourage the summit’s participants to talk candidly.

Other design features focus on a shared history between the two countries, including incorporating elements of a Hanok, a traditional Korean house.

At the dinner after the summit, each course on the menu comes with a heavy dash of symbolism.

Guests will be served a dish from the hometown of the three South Korean presidents who will have hosted an inter-Korean summit.

They will eat food from the Korean Peninsula’s far north and south, including cold noodles, dumplings and barbecued beef. There will even be food sourced from the demilitarized zone itself.