S. Korea asks Japan to lift export curbs

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President Moon Jae-In of South Korea
South Korea President Moon Jae-In

South Korea has asked Japan to lift export curbs and expressed deep regret over the measure, officials from Seoul’s trade ministry said Saturday.

The demand was made during a working-level meeting between the two neighbors in Tokyo on Friday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The meeting, which ran for nearly six hours, was the first time the two sides had met since Japan implemented strict regulations on exports of the materials.

“We have expressed regret over Japan’s measure and requested that Japan restore (its previous policy) and immediately retract the export curbs,” a trade ministry official told reporters at Haneda International Airport before departing for Seoul.

South Korea has been calling on Japan to retract the measure and hold talks to resolve the frictions, but Japan has remained tight-lipped over the request.

South Korean officials also refuted claims that Tokyo has provided a full explanation or that it gave prior notification before implementing the restriction.

“It is not true that the South Korean government has agreed to Japan’s stance that yesterday’s meeting was a mere explanation,” the official said.

Seoul has also demanded that Japan provide acceptable evidence or grounds for questioning its export control system, the official added.

The trade ministry official refuted Japan’s claim that South Korea had not requested additional discussions in the future.

“We have repeatedly proposed another round of talks over the tech trade restrictions before July 24,” the official said, adding that the Japanese side did not clearly state whether it would accept the proposal.

The office of President Moon Jae-in, meanwhile, is poised to take stronger actions against Tokyo, an official said.

“It looks like Japan is poised to take the trade row between the neighbors longer than expected,” said a Cheong Wa Dae official who asked not to be named. “Our attitude is that we are determined for the current situation.”

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