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South Korea blasts Japan's economic war amid deepening trade dispute

Iran Press TV

Sat Aug 3, 2019 09:09AM

South Korea has blasted Japan as "selfish nuisance" after Tokyo removed Seoul from its list of top trading partners, amid an escalating trade dispute linked to persisting historical tensions.

"We won't be defeated by Japan again," said South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a rare live television broadcast of his cabinet meeting.

Moon further threatened countermeasures against Tokyo after the cabinet of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved the removal of South Korea's fast-track export status effective late August.

Dropping Seoul from a so-called "white list" of favored export destinations would mean that some Japanese exporters must complete more paperwork and on-site inspections to secure permits.

Effective August 28, Japanese companies would have to obtain government authorization in order to ship goods to South Korea that may have military applications.

President Moon warning that the move could adversely affect the global economy. Earlier, a South Korean presidential spokesperson promised a "resolute" response to Japan's decision.

The development came after Japan restricted last month exports of a number of vital, high-technology materials to South Korea.

The materials are used to manufacture semiconductors and parts for electronic products that are critical to South Korea's export-fueled economy.

Ties between Washington's top two East Asian allies began to deteriorate late last year following a spat over compensation for wartime forced laborers during Japan's colonization of the Korean Peninsula prior to World War II.

The Trump administration has called on the two countries to consider reaching a "standstill agreement" to buy more time for talks, according to a senior administration official.

Other top South Korean officials followed Moon in blaming Japan, with senior National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong criticizing Tokyo as an obstacle to the South's effort to build peace with North Korea.

Kim said Seoul will review whether to maintain a military information sharing pact with Tokyo.

South Korea's other countermeasures will see it drop Japan from its own list of favored trading partners and accelerate efforts to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said.

South Korean foreign ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador to serve notice that Japan was no longer considered a friendly nation, according to the country's Yonhap news agency.

Japan has the world's third largest economy, while South Korea has the 11th largest. A trade war between the two could impact not only East Asia, but the global economy.

It could also threaten the international technology supply chain since South Korea produces nearly 70 percent of the world's computer memory chips.

South Korea would be the first country removed from Japan's white list, which now has 27 countries -- including Britain, Germany and the US.

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