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S. Korea, Japan to hold talks next month over trade row

All News 18:28 February 21, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday that it will hold talks with Japan next month in the latest attempt to resolve the two countries' monthslong trade row.

Lee Ho-hyeon, South Korea's director general for international trade policy, is set to meet with his Japanese counterpart, Yoichi Iida, in Seoul on March 10, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

In December, the two neighbors held their first director-general-level talks since 2016 but failed to make progress toward loosening their export control systems.

Ties between Seoul and Tokyo have been deadlocked since July when Japan imposed tighter regulations on exports to South Korea of three materials critical for the production of semiconductors and flexible displays. Japan later removed Seoul from its list of trusted trading partners.

South Korea wants Japan to put it back on the whitelist, but Japan said the issue should be handled separately.

Japan cited South Korea's allegedly lax export control system for sensitive materials that could be diverted for military use as the ostensible reason for its export restrictions but did not provide clear evidence to back the allegation up.

South Korea views the Japanese moves as retaliation against 2018 South Korean Supreme Court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.


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