Prawn row: Fisherman flooded with orders

SEOUL • South Korea's provocative serving of prawns from disputed waters at a state dinner for Mr 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, which 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 World War II to Tuesday's meal.

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 on Thursday 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. "I used to get 10 to 20 orders" a day, Mr Park Jong Hyun told a local radio station yesterday. "Now I get nearly 100."

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

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.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2017, with the headline 'Prawn row: Fisherman flooded with orders'. Subscribe