Published: Fri, July 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

South Korea urges Japan to accept request for talks over export controls

South Korea urges Japan to accept request for talks over export controls

The 78-year-old man, surnamed Kim, ignited a fire inside his auto parked in front of the embassy building early on Friday.

South Korea and Japan, both key US allies, have been often embroiled in history and territory disputes stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan says all compensation issues had been settled under the 1965 bilateral agreement and that the South Korean government's lack of intervention to stop the court process is a breach of the worldwide treaty.

Government officials view that step as a last resort given the refusal of South Korea to even enter into discussions based on the 1965 bilateral agreement that not only restored diplomatic ties, but in Tokyo's view "completely and finally" settled all wartime compensation claims by Koreans.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry hit back Friday at Japan's claim that South Korea was violating worldwide law in the wartime forced labor issue and urged it to face up to history.

The bilateral dispute took a tragic turn earlier on Friday when a South Korean man set himself on fire in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in an apparent protest and later died from his injuries.

But South Korea failed to respond to Japan's request.

Kono summoned South Korean Ambassador to Japan Nam Gwan-pyo to the Foreign Ministry Friday morning to protest South Korea's failure to take the necessary actions.

"What the South Korean government is doing now is equivalent to subverting the post-World War Two global order", Kono said.

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Seoul and Washington have held high-level talks over recent disputes between South Korea and Japan.

Kim added that South Korea was ready to consult with Japan on ways to find a middle ground acceptable both to peoples of the two countries and the forced labor victims, urging Tokyo to immediately retract the export restriction. "It is bad manners to pretend not to know that".

An official at President Moon Jae-in's office denied that South Korea had violated worldwide law, saying that the 1965 treaty didn't cover human rights issues.

South Korea's presidential Blue House said Friday that not South Korea, but Japan violated worldwide law regarding the forced labor of Korean people before and during World War II.

Police declined to comment, saying they were investigating.

An official with the South Korean Foreign Ministry said on July 18 that the government did not have to abide by the deadline set for that day by Japan because Tokyo had unilaterally selected the date.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics 005930.KS has sent letters to partners urging them to stockpile more Japanese components in case Tokyo expands its export restrictions.

"There are major concerns that such a move would have a grave impact on not only the economies in both countries, but the global supply chain", Mr Lee said at a briefing.

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