Economy, Asia - Pacific

Unwise to link trade with wartime issue: Seoul to Tokyo

South Korean president warns of economic trouble for Japan if latter does not remove restrictions on exports

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 15.07.2019
Unwise to link trade with wartime issue: Seoul to Tokyo


Linking bilateral economy with historical dispute is “very unwise”, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday in reaction to Japan’s restrictions on exports to Seoul.

Moon warned that Japan “will suffer bigger damage in the end” if Tokyo continues with its unilateral trade restrictions, South Korean news Yonhap reported.

On July 04, Japan slowed-down export of three critical products to South Korean TV and smart phone industry apparently in retaliation to Seoul’s demand of compensation to victims of Japan’s colonial rule over Korean peninsula in between 1910 and 1945.

“Tokyo's tougher export restrictions, which target firms here [South Korea], are tantamount to seeking to block the growth of South Korea's economy at a time when it's seeking to leap forward by a notch,” Moon told his government aides.

"If it's what Japan intends to be, it will never succeed," Moon added.

Reacting to Japan’s allegations that some “dual-use materials may be smuggled out of South Korea”, Moon said it was a "grave challenge" to his government that's making all-out efforts for improved inter-Korean ties and peace on the peninsula "within the framework" of UN sanctions.

Following restrictions on its exports, reports from Japan last week said that some material could have been transported to North Korea from Seoul, triggering angry reactions from South Korean officials.

“Seoul is abiding faithfully by major international export control rules and UN Security Council resolutions,” the South Korean president added.

North Korea is under severe UN and U.S. sanctions and any illegal trade by any UN member state with Pyongyang will invite action from the world body.

"I hope the Japanese government will retract unilateral pressure and return to the stage of a diplomatic resolution," Moon said.

South Korea suggested a UN-led investigation in to the claims made by Japan and also raised issue of trade restrictions at World Trade Organization last week, calling the move against “free and fair trade”.

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