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Cheong Wa Dae voices 'strong regret' over Japan's export curbs

All Headlines 16:14 August 28, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- The office of President Moon Jae-in expressed "strong regret" Wednesday over Japan's export restrictions against South Korea and also urged Tokyo to "hold hands" extended by Seoul to resolve a related problem diplomatically.

In a statement issued after Japan finally demoted South Korea's trade status, Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong said, "The government strongly regrets the latest action taken by Japan."

He unusually mentioned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by name, saying he is treating South Korea like a "hostile nation."

He was referring to Abe's repeated public remarks that South Korea can't be trusted in terms of handling strategic dual-purpose materials.

It's the Japanese government that has tied a national security issue with the export control, he said.

Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Hyun-chong speaks during a press briefing at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Aug. 28, 2019. (Yonhap)

Such a move is the reason for South Korea's decision to terminate the pact with Japan on exchanging military intelligence, called the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), Kim said.

He reaffirmed that Seoul can reconsider the GSOMIA decision, made last week, if Tokyo retracts its trade retaliation. The agreement is to expire in late November.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said South Korea can think again about the fate of GSOMIA if Japan removes the trade measure before its expiration.

Kim said, "I would like to emphasize that the ball has been passed into Japan's court."

He recalled Moon's message in his Aug. 15 Liberation Day speech that, "If Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands."

"(We) expect Japan to hold hands we have extended," Kim said.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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