BANGKOK (Reuters) – South Korea warned on Thursday that security cooperation with Japan is perhaps harm if it removes South Korea from its list of international locations that face minimal commerce restrictions, after talks didn’t slim their variations.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) meets her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono through the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, August 1, 2019. Mandatory credit score Kyodo/through REUTERS
Relations between Japan and South Korea are arguably at their lowest since they normalized ties in 1965, with a spiraling diplomatic and commerce row threatening to disrupt the worldwide provide of semiconductors and undercut security cooperation on North Korea.
South Korea’s overseas minister, Kang Kyung-wha, held talks together with her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian convention in Bangkok on Thursday.
The assembly was the highest-level talks since Japan tightened curbs final month on exports to South Korea of high-tech supplies, accusing its neighbor of insufficient administration of delicate objects.
The export restrictions got here as Japan was already offended a few South Korean courtroom ruling final yr that Japanese corporations needed to pay compensation to South Koreans compelled to work in Japanese factories throughout Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
Japan says the difficulty of compensation for its wartime actions had been settled by a 1965 treaty and it requested South Korea to hunt worldwide arbitration to resolve the dispute.
The Bangkok talks yielded little progress, with an official at South Korea’s overseas ministry saying there was “virtually no change” in Japan’s stance.
The official stated Japan was “highly likely” to approve South Korea’s removing from Japan’s so-called white list of international locations that take pleasure in clean commerce on Friday.
Kang stated she urged Kono to cease the method or it might pressure South Korea to craft countermeasures.
South Korean officers have warned they could rethink an intelligence sharing accord with Japan if the feud worsens.
The bilateral accord, generally known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), is routinely renewed each August. It is mainly geared toward countering North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
“As Japan cited security reasons for its trade restrictions, I said we will have no option but to review the various frameworks of security cooperation with Japan,” Kang instructed reporters, when requested whether or not South Korea would maintain the GSOMIA if it was dropped from the Japanese list.
There was no speedy remark from Japan’s overseas ministry.
Japan’s Kyodo information company reported Kono had requested South Korea to take steps to forestall any harm to the Japanese corporations ordered to pay compensation to former laborers.
A Japanese authorities supply stated that Tokyo’s stance was to attempt to maintain the commerce and historical past dispute separate from security issues, together with the renewal of the GSOMIA.
The 55-minute talks started with a frosty greeting.
Both Kang and Kono appeared stony-faced as they shook palms, and Kang targeted on reviewing paperwork she introduced earlier than making opening remarks, shunning eye contact.
Any change in security cooperation between Japan and South Korea would probably fear the United States, which has referred to as on is 2 key Asian allies to resolve their variations.
The United States has urged South Korea and Japan to think about reaching a “standstill agreement” to forestall any additional motion and permit time for negotiations, a senior U.S. official instructed reporters on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo additionally stated he would encourage “a path forward” when he joins Kang and Kono for a three-way assembly in Bangkok, although Kang has stated it “wouldn’t be easy” for the United States to mediate overtly.
“We’ve made clear to the Japanese side that for now we need to buy time for a diplomatic solution,” the South Korean overseas ministry official instructed reporters after the assembly with Kono.
Reporting by Hyonhee Shin in BANGKOK; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in SEOUL and Linda Sieg and Christopher Gallagher in TOKYO; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel
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