Friday November 10, 2017
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This undated handout photo shows a meal served at the state dinner for US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in Seoul. It features a prawn that South Korea’s presidential Blue House said was caught near a disputed island claimed both by the South and Japan. — AFP picThis undated handout photo shows a meal served at the state dinner for US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in Seoul. It features a prawn that South Korea’s presidential Blue House said was caught near a disputed island claimed both by the South and Japan. — AFP picSEOUL, Nov 10 — South Korea’s provocative serving of prawns from disputed waters at a state dinner for Donald Trump has irritated Japan but cooked up a bonanza for the fisherman who caught them, who has been deluged with orders.

The prawns were fished near the Seoul-controlled islets called Dokdo in the South and Takeshima in Japan, that have been at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between the South and its former colonial ruler for decades.

The South’s presidential office also invited one of women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during the World War II to Tuesday’s meal, where she was introduced to Trump, who hugged her.

The moves — seen by some as a diplomatic jab at Tokyo — annoyed the Japanese government, whose top spokesman said it was “necessary to avoid” actions that may hurt bilateral ties.

Seoul’s foreign ministry yesterday called it “inappropriate” for Japan to take issue with the menu at another country’s state dinner.

But the row proved a hit for the fisherman who provided the prawns, sparking public interest in the once-obscure crustacean.

“I used to get 10 to 20 orders” a day, Park Jong-hyun told a local radio station today.

“Now I get nearly 100,” he added, meaning customers have to wait 15 days for their orders.

Other fishermen are also fielding a barrage of requests, according to reports.

Park has fished in the area for 15 years, hauling up the shellfish — which cost around US$10 (RM42) each, depending on size — up from 300-metre depths.

“Dokdo is our territory,” he said, calling Japan’s complaints over the menu “ridiculous”.

Seoul and Tokyo have been embroiled in rows over territory and history for decades, and many South Koreans bitterly refer to abuses under Japan’s brutal 1910-45 occupation of the peninsula. — AFP

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