S. Korean lawmakers blame Japan's "diplomatic discourtesy" after meeting canceled

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-02 00:31:40|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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TOKYO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korean lawmakers who are visiting Japan to discuss trade and history row between the two countries expressed anger Thursday after a leading Japanese politician canceled a meeting, saying it is "huge diplomatic discourtesy."

A group of 10 lawmakers from South Korea began a two-day visit to Tokyo on Wednesday, hoping to help ease the worsening dispute over trade and history.

They met their Japanese counterparts on Wednesday, urging Japan not to downgrade their country from a preferred status with simplified export procedures. However, they ended up repeating their demands to each other.

The Japanese government will decide whether to exclude South Korea from the list as early as Friday at a cabinet meeting.

If South Korea is removed from Japan's so-called "white country" list, which takes effect 21 days after the Cabinet's approval, it would mean that requirement will apply to dozens of more products on a list of items that potentially could be converted to weapons.

During the visit, the South Korean lawmakers were originally scheduled to meet Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the South Korean lawmakers, two hours before the planned meeting, Nikai's side abruptly requested to postpone the meeting until the following morning because of a party session.

At night, Fukushiro Nukaga of the LDP, a co-head of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' Union, called his South Korean counterpart, Kang Chang-il of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), to cancel the talks because he had to preside over an emergency party meeting.

Kang expressed anger about Japan's move, saying it is "huge diplomatic discourtesy."

"The LDP may have ordered its members to keep silent, but anyway he said Nikai can't meet us because of his hectic schedule. I said they should have not committed such a discourtesy and hung up," Kang said.

According to him, it is not important to meet someone, but to convey the country's thoughts. The South Korean side has already understood the "true intentions of the LDP and Abe administration."

Japan has already tightened regulations early last month on its export to South Korea of three materials vital to make memory chips and display panels, which are the mainstay of the South Korean export.

Seoul argues that Japan's moves were retaliation over South Korean court decisions ordering Japanese firms to compensate for wartime labor.

Tokyo insists that the planned removal is meant to address security concerns and compensation issues related to its former colonial rule over what is now South Korea were settled in a 1965 bilateral agreement "finally and completely."