The Financial Express

Japan, S Korea hold export talks, seek dispute solution

Published: December 16, 2019 15:12:07 | Updated: December 16, 2019 15:49:35

Japan, S Korea hold export talks, seek dispute solution

Senior officials from Japan and South Korea were holding talks Monday on high-tech exports for the first time since Tokyo tightened controls on South Korean semiconductor parts earlier this year, reports AP.

The director-general level meeting was taking place in Tokyo between Yoichi Iida of Japan’s Trade Control Department and his South Korean counterpart, Lee Ho-hyeon. The two officials shook hands at the beginning of the talks, though they made no opening remarks to the media.

A meeting of this level had not been held in more than three years.

Japan in July tightened trade controls on South Korea materials used in smartphones, television screens and other high-tech products, citing national security concerns.

Japan also downgraded South Korea a month later from a list of preferential trade partners.

South Korea has demanded Japan reverse the measures, saying Tokyo has weaponized export controls in retaliation for South Korean court rulings demanding Japanese companies pay compensation to former Korean laborers over their treatment during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Tokyo has pressed Seoul to stick with a 1965 agreement in resolving their dispute over wartime Korean laborers, criticising the court decisions a violation to international law.

Japan’s trade curbs against South Korea have led to subsequent retaliatory measures that spilled into the area of national security, with Seoul threatening to abandon a key military intelligence sharing pact with Tokyo.

The pact was saved just hours before its expiration in November, following Washington’s repeated pressure and with Tokyo agreeing to resume export control talks requested by Seoul.

Monday’s talks come a week ahead of a planned summit between the two countries and China.

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