‘Bomb Shot’ on the menu as Japanese and Korean leaders meet to strengthen ties

SEOUL: After discussions on security and technology, the leaders of South Korea and Japan plan to relax over a drink that is traditionally served in Korea to cement friendship.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol prepares to share a “bomb hit” with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a casual dinner on Sunday. The concoction, a combination of beer with South Korea’s national spirit soju, is a mainstay of K-dramas and between colleagues and friends.
The meal is part of an official two-day summit in Seoul – the first in 12 years – intended to strengthen ties between US allies. Seen as a chance to restore shuttle diplomacy, the visit comes ahead of a trilateral meeting between the United States, South Korea and Japan at the Group of Seven meeting in Hiroshima later this month.
The casual dinner at Yoon’s presidential residence in Seoul will feature Korean cuisine. Yoon intends to serve charcoal-grilled meat, according to people familiar with the event. Korean rice wine, called Cheongju, will be offered throughout the meal, and senior officials from Yoon’s ruling People Power Party suggest bombings will “most likely” 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, marinated beef ribs, soju and rice wine were on the menu at a restaurant in the upscale Gangnam district.
The bilateral summit is part of a broader initiative to restore ties strained by disputes over the past few years. The friction has caused headaches for the White House, which wants the two countries to form a united front against North Korea.
The political divide is driven by issues of fair compensation after Japan forced Koreans to work in Japanese mines and factories during the 1910-1945 colonial rule on the peninsula. The relationship soured in 2019 when Japan removed South Korea from its preferential trade list, leading to reciprocal action.
Last month, South Korea added Japan to its “white list” of trading partners, and Japan later announced it would do the same.
Earlier in the day, North Korea’s official news agency renewed its attacks on Yoon for his pro-US policies, calling them sweeping and excessive after the leader’s recent trip to Washington.


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