The Duke of Cambridge made a public appearance at the opening of a Japanese cultural center in London where he confused Japan with China.
Prince William attended the opening of Japan House in London's Kensington, near Buckingham Palace, along with Japan’s deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.
The prince then sat down with a group of school students and tried to learn how to use chopsticks. He then asked the students a question that resulted in an awkward pause.
“Have you guys had much Chinese food?” he asked them.
There was an awkward silence in the room after the prince laid down his question. However, he was quick to realize his mistake and corrected himself.
“Sorry, Japanese food. Have you had much Japanese food? No? Not too much. Do you like sushi? It’s delicious, it really is yummy,” he then said.
A similar incident took place recently where a British representative confused the two countries.
In July, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was on an official visit to China with his wife Lucia Guo. The newly-appointed foreign secretary attempted to strengthen ties between the two countries but ended up doing exactly the opposite.
To a room full of officials, Hunt introduced his Chinese-born wife as Japanese.
“My wife is Japanese – my wife is Chinese. Sorry, that's a terrible mistake to make,” he said.
The relations between the two Asian countries, China and Japan, have been rocky.
The two countries have sparred frequently about their painful history, with China often accusing Japan of not properly atoning for invading its neighbor before and during World War Two.
Ties between the world’s second and third-largest economies have also been clouded by a long-running territorial dispute over a cluster of East China Sea islets and suspicion in China about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Despite the harsh history, officials of the two countries are trying to make relations better. Last year, Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of a regional summit in Vietnam.
Banner / Thumbnail : The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images