Viral comment from Pakistani PM Imran Khan
A video of Khan’s reference to the supposed Germany-Japan border has been shared countless times across social media, often by trolls who just can’t help but make fun of him. He was speaking about trade at an event in Tehran during his official visit to Iran, and his comment about the Germany-Japan border suggests he actually meant Germany’s border with France.
He said Germany and Japan “killed millions of their civilians” during World War II, and “the border regions of Germany and Japan, they had joint industries.” He added that now since the two countries have so much trade between them, “there is no question of them ever having bad relations because their economic interests are tied together.”
Journalist Syed Talat Hussain was among those who shared the video of Khan’s remarks:
Japan is an island country in East Asia located in the Pacific. Germany is in central Europe. They had the same location during the 2nd World War in which they were allies. But PM Imran thinks otherwise and says so before international audience. pic.twitter.com/aR45Y7T2bP
— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) April 22, 2019
Opposition calls out Khan for his Germany-Japan border remark
Many of Imran Khan’s critics were from opposition parties in Pakistan, like Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chair Bilawal Bhutto, who questioned his attendance at Oxford University, suggesting he only got in because he could play cricket. Many others, including left-wing politician Farhatullah Babar, noted that Khan’s Germany-Japan border remark is an embarrassment, not only for him and his party but also for Pakistan as a whole.
The statement of Imran Khan about joint industrial projects set up along “German-Japan border” before a distinguished gathering in a foreign country must find a place in record books. At home a monumental failure; abroad a comic embarrassment, is what IK has been. https://t.co/1WyGDCGyW1
— Farhatullah Babar (@FarhatullahB) April 22, 2019
Did he mean France?
Of course, the basic gist of what Khan was saying can be considered true. Two neighboring countries with trade ties are far less likely to have bad relations because they benefit from their interlocking industries. It seems likely that Khan actually meant France rather than Japan because France and Germany do actually share a border and were actually enemies during World War II, while Japan was Germany’s ally.
Unfortunately for Imran Khan, this isn’t the first major faux pas he has made while speaking. In the past, he also referred to Africa as a “country” rather than a continent.
His Germany-Japan border remark also calls to mind a number of similar mistakes from U.S. President Donald Trump, who accidentally called Apple CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple” during a meeting.