The Latest on Japan downgrading South Korea’s trade status (all times local):
South Korea’s presidential office has expressed “deep regret” and vowed a stern response over Japan‘s decision to take the country off its list of nations with preferred trade status.
In a statement read on national TV, Blue House spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said Seoul had committed to resolving its trade row with Tokyo diplomatically and will now sternly respond to the Japanese measures it sees as “unjust.”
Ko says President Moon Jae-in will address the issue ahead of a Cabinet meeting later on Friday and the country’s finance minister will also announce government plans in response to the expanded Japanese export controls.
South Korea says the Japanese trade curbs could hurt its export-dependent economy and has accused Japan of weaponizing trade to retaliate over bilateral disputes stemming from wartime history.
Japan has approved the removal of South Korea from a “whitelist” of countries with preferential trade status, escalating tensions between the neighbors.
Friday’s Cabinet decision expanding controls over exports of sensitive materials takes effect on Aug. 28.
It follows an earlier requirement that Japanese companies’ exports to South Korea be approved on a case-by-case basis for three materials used in semiconductors, smartphones and other high-tech devices.
The decision will fuel antagonism between the two neighbors already at a boiling point over the export controls and the issue of compensation for wartime Korean laborers.
It will ripple across the high-tech sector, further affecting supply chains already rattled by U.S.-China trade tensions.