SEOUL: After discussions on security and technology, the leaders of South Korea and Japan plan to relax and have a drink poured traditionally in Korea to enhance friendship.
President of South Korea Yoon Seok Yul He prepares to share a “bomb shot” with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during an informal dinner on Sunday. This blend, a blend of beer with South Korea’s national spirit of soju, is a mainstay at Korean drama and among colleagues and friends.
The meal is part of a two-day official summit in Seoul – the first in 12 years – aimed at strengthening ties between US allies. The visit is seen as an opportunity to restore shuttle diplomacy and comes ahead of a trilateral meeting between the United States, South Korea and Japan during the G7 meeting in Hiroshima later this month.
Relaxed dinners at Yoon’s presidential residence in Seoul will feature Korean cuisine. Yoon intends to serve char-grilled meat, according to people familiar with the event. Korean rice wine, called Cheongju, will be served throughout the meal, and high-ranking officials from Yoon’s ruling People’s Power Party suggest that bomb shots are “likely” to follow.
The last such meeting was in October 2011, when then Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visited South Korea for a summit with President Lee Myung-bak. At the time, short ribs of marinated beef, soju, and rice wine were on the menu at a restaurant in the ritzy Gangnam neighborhood.
The bilateral summit is part of a broader drive to restore relations damaged by conflict in recent years. The friction has caused a headache for the White House, which wants the two countries to form a united front against North Korea.
The political row was fueled by issues of fair compensation after Japan forced Koreans to work in Japanese mines and factories during the peninsula’s colonial rule from 1910 to 1945. The relationship worsened in 2019 when Japan removed South Korea from its preferential trade list, prompting reciprocal actions. .
Last month, South Korea again added Japan to its “white list” of trading partners, and Japan later announced that it would do the same.
Earlier today, North Korea’s official news agency renewed attacks on Yoon because of his pro-US policies, describing them as extremist and excessive after the leader’s recent visit to Washington.


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