Japanese, S. Korean senior trade officials to discuss tightened export controls

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-05 23:03:09|Editor: yan
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TOKYO, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Japanese and South Korean senior trade officials will meet later this month to discuss Japan's tightened export controls, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama said Thursday.

The meeting, slated to be held on Dec. 16 in Tokyo, will mark the first such director general-level meeting between both sides in more than three years and the first since Japan slapped tighter controls on tech-related exports to South Korea in July.

Kajiyama had said that preparations for the talks were held in Vienna, Austria, on Wednesday, with talks between working-level officials having already taken place.

The planned talks between the senior trade officials comes as Tokyo and Seoul have been at odds since October last year when South Korea's top court ordered a Japanese firm to pay compensation for the forced labor of South Koreans during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan maintains the matter was settled by a 1965 pact, which saw Tokyo pay Seoul some 500 million U.S. dollars under the banner of "economic cooperation."

The dispute, however, continued and spread to trade and security issues, with both sides tightening export restrictions and removing each other from their preferential lists of trade partners.

"I hope that through dialogue, we can step up cooperation on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Kajiyama told a press briefing Thursday.

The spat had also spilled over into security areas, with Seoul deciding to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), before deciding to extend the pact with Japan just hours before the deal was due to expire.

GSOMIA is a bilateral military intelligence-sharing accord signed between both countries in November 2016.

The pact has enabled the two neighbors to share military information and has helped both sides counter potential regional threats.