SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that Japan's export restrictions are "disappointing and regrettable" but vowed continued efforts for a diplomatic solution to minimize damage to South Korean companies and people.
"The Japanese government recently decided to remove our country from a whitelist of (trading) countries following the imposition of export restrictions. Considering the two countries' previous efforts for friendship and cooperation, they are truly disappointing and regrettable," Moon said during a lunch meeting with Korean independence fighters and their descendants at Cheong Wa Dae.
"The government will continue to make efforts for a diplomatic solution while devising measures to minimize damage to our enterprises and people," the president said, praising the Korean people for having responded to Japan's economic retaliation in a calm and mature manner.
Moon hosted the lunch meeting two days before the Aug. 15 National Liberation Day, which commemorates the end of Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45.
He attached special historical significance to this year's National Liberation Day, saying this year marks the 100th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement and the establishment of the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai, China.
"I'm convinced that as long as we have the ability to reflect on our history, today's difficulty will be a stepping stone for us to develop into a nation not to be swayed by others. We don't forget universal values of mankind -- coexistence, peace, mutual cooperation and coprosperity between individuals, peoples, nations and countries," Moon said. The previous day, the president also emphasized his determination not to give up the universal values of mankind during a meeting with senior presidential secretaries.
During the lunch meeting, Moon then expressed deep gratitude and respect to the independence fighters who fought against Japan's colonial rule.
The president noted his government attached national merit plaques to the homes of about 54,000 independence fighters and their descendants by July, raised their financial benefits and launched various welfare services for them.
"The will and ideals possessed by our ancestors 100 years ago have yet to be fully realized. An important task of Korean Peninsula peace and prosperity still lies ahead of us. National division should be overcome to help accomplish national liberation," he said, calling for national unity.
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