Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Korea apart on export controls

Korea apart on export controls

The call was the latest twist in a dispute between the United States allies that could disrupt supplies of chips and displays from South Korean tech giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which count Apple and other smartphone makers as customers.

Last week, the Japanese government tightened the rules for exporting sensitive materials to South Korea, potentially hurting the country's TV and smartphone manufacturing.

However, Japan maintained that the tighter export controls were not a retaliatory measure against South Korea, saying that Seoul had failed to show a satisfactory solution to the ongoing wartime labor dispute between both parties.

Japan last week declared it will beef up screening procedures on three key chemicals shipped to South Korea and is considering removing South Korea from a list of countries deemed to be performing sufficiently on export controls, ensuring materials that can be used for conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction are not being diverted to third parties.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) also disputed a Korean official's statement that Seoul had asked Japan on Friday to withdraw the restrictions.

South Korea's industry ministry said on Wednesday it had found 156 cases of unauthorised exports of strategic goods as of March since 2015, but none involved North Korea.

Working level officials from Japan (L) and South Korea hold a meeting about Japan's recent restrictions on exports of high-tech material to South Korea in Tokyo, Japan, July 12, 2019.


According to Japanese officials, the South Korean side did not ask that the measure be rescinded nor did they reiterate the viewpoint of other government officials that the move was a violation of World Trade Organization rules.

A foreign ministry official handling Asia-Pacific affairs is visiting Japan as Seoul steps up efforts to reverse Tokyo's recent export control measure through bilateral dialogue and United States mediation.

Relations between Washington's two Asian allies have always been plagued by memories of Japan's 1910-45 colonisation of the peninsula and the war, including the matter of "comfort women", a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

Observers have linked the export dispute to the emotionally charged row over Korean forced labor and forced prostitution.

Japan, for its part, has claimed the rulings are not in line with global law and run counter to the foundation of friendly and cooperative relations between the two neighbors since the 1965 normalization of diplomatic ties.

"The plan to integrate F-35A fighters into the military force is proceeding without any difficulty, but we are not able to confirm the schedule of acquiring [the aircraft]", the South Korean official said. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.

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