Japan-South Korea relations hit new low

Updated: Aug 03, 2019, 08:46 IST | Agencies

The two countries are mired in long-running disputes over the use of forced labour during World War II

Japan-South Korea relations hit new low
(L to R) South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono. Pic/AFP

Tokyo: Japan and South Korea rescinded each other's favoured export partner status on Friday and Seoul said it would review a military information agreement, as a long-running row between the US allies hit a new low. The two countries are mired in long-running disputes over the use of forced labour during World War II. Tokyo, which made the first move despite US calls for both to calm tensions, insisted it was acting on national security grounds rather than retaliation.

"The government at a cabinet meeting today [Friday] approved a revision to the export control law", said Japan's Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko, referring to a so-called "white list", adding, "South Korea, the only Asian nation on the list, will be removed." South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the move "very reckless", warning that "responsibility for what is going to happen next also lies squarely with the Japanese government". "We will never again lose to Japan," he added.

Hours later his finance minister, Hong Nam-ki, announced Seoul would reciprocate. Tokyo's decision "fundamentally destroys the relations of trust and cooperation that the two countries established", Hong said. The moves mean hundreds of products that could be diverted to military use will be subject to tighter export controls in both directions.

South monitoring North's missile situation

According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the country is monitoring the situation after North Korea fired unidentified short-range projectiles twice off its east coast on Friday. "We are monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture," said JCS. The third such launch in a week, the projectiles were fired from into the East Sea. More analysis was required to ascertain the exact type of projectiles fired.

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