The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States have held phone talks to discuss Tokyo’s recent export control measure against Seoul and diplomacy for North Korea’s denuclearization, the Foreign Ministry said on July 11.
During a 15-minute talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha voiced concerns over Japan’s restrictions on the exports of key high-tech materials to South Korea.
Last week, Japan enforced the measure in an apparent retaliatory step over last year’s Supreme Court rulings against Japanese firms over wartime forced labor.
“Minister Kang said that given that Japan’s trade restriction step could cause damage to our companies and have a negative impact on the world trade order, as well as on US firms, by disrupting the global supply system, it is undesirable in terms of the friendly cooperative relationship between South Korea and Japan and of trilateral cooperation among the South, the US and Japan,” the ministry said in a press release.
Kang, who is on a visit to Ethiopia, also noted Seoul’s hope to explore a diplomatic solution to the issue through dialogue with Tokyo.
Pompeo expressed his “understanding” of Seoul’s position, the ministry said, as the two sides agreed to continue cooperation in strengthening diplomatic communication between South Korea and the U.S. and trilaterally among the South, the US and Japan.
Their talks came amid growing calls for Washington to step in to defuse tensions between its two core Asian allies that could pose a hurdle in its drive to strengthen the regional alliance network to promote stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Japan has protested the South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of forced labor. It argues that all reparation issues stemming from its 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula were settled under a 1965 government-to-government accord aimed at normalizing bilateral ties.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)