President Trump’s attendance at back-to-back state dinners in Japan and South Korea this week has taken on the appearance of a tug of war between the two countries seeking to curry favor on the president’s first trip to Asia.
State dinners are typically lavish affairs with meticulous diplomatic considerations practiced by the hosts and guest country. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used his dinner Monday to capitalize on his unique and already-warm relationship with Trump.
In his toast, Abe reflected on his golf outings with Trump in Japan and at the president’s private club in Florida as a testament to the strength of their friendship.
“Yesterday’s golf diplomacy between Donald and me attracted so much attention, and we actually made everything public, except for the score,” Abe said today. “And, through golf, we could demonstrate to the world how strong the bond is between Japan and the United States.”
President Moon, however, is using his state dinner to take some not-so-subtle diplomatic jabs at Japan.
The menu includes shrimp caught in waters near an island chain at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea, according to South Korea’s Blue House. The country also extended an invite for the dinner to a woman who reportedly was forced to work as a sex slave by Japan’s military in World War II.
The menu tonight will also play to the perceived opulent lifestyle of President Trump and much of his inner circle, with one of the beef dishes accompanied by soy sauce that the Blue House says is 360 years old.
today, South Korean President Moon began his remarks early today alongside Trump by invoking the upcoming one-year anniversary of Trump’s presidential victory, followed with praise of the performance of the economy since Trump took office.
Trump smiled at the recognition, and echoed Moon’s praise in their next appearance before cameras.
“It is interesting that it is one year, as of tomorrow, that we had our election victory,” Trump said. “And it was great victory, and a victory that made a lot of people very happy. And our country is doing very well from the standpoint of the economy.”
ABC News’ Joohee Cho contributed to this report.