Monday, 14 October, 2019

South Korea, Japan Descend Further Into Tech Spat

A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin Germany North Korea threatens to “destroy” South’s F-35 stealth fighter jets
Patty Aguilar | 13 July, 2019, 16:39

Japanese trade ministry officials said the objective of Friday's meeting was to explain that the restrictions are a precautionary measure necessitated by South Korea's lax trade controls.

"The two leaders must meet and try to find a compromise", he told The Straits Times, adding that both sides stand to lose a lot. He demanded that Japan provide evidence for claims made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative aides that there may have been illegal transfers of sensitive materials from South Korea to North Korea.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry also disputed a reported remark by a Korean official, saying in a statement that South Korea had not asked Japan on Friday to withdraw the restrictions.

Although Japan controls up to 90 per cent of the global supply of the sanctioned materials - fluorinated polyimide, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride - Russian Federation has reportedly offered to supply hydrogen fluoride to South Korea.

The brief glimpse given to media of the meeting suggested an environment that was anything but warm - the two Japanese officials remained stony-faced and sitting at a table when their South Korean counterparts arrived, offering no apparent greetings or handshakes before reporters were ushered out.

North Korea slammed South Korea over its ongoing deployment of high-tech USA fighter jets, warning Thursday that it will respond by developing and testing unspecified special weapons of its own to "destroy" the aircraft. South Korea is a major producer of semiconductors used in a wide range of products, and concerns have been raised that the tighter export control could lead to a decrease in semiconductors manufactured in South Korea.

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South Korea has sought Washington's help.

South Korea's trade ministry announced this week the country's authorities had unearthed 156 incidents of sensitive materials that can be used for manufacturing weapons of mass destruction being illegally diverted to unauthorized countries between 2015 and March 2019.

Kim You-geun, South Korea's deputy director of national security, said South Korea has fully enforced United Nations sanctions on North Korea and worldwide export control regimes on sensitive materials and dual-use technology. "And there should be a thorough investigation into any violation by Japan".

Seoul sees Japan's curbs as retaliation for disputes over former Korean wartime labor. At a briefing on Friday, Japanese officials said that the topic of supply chains was not brought up.

An official from the North Korean Foreign Ministry said the purchase of the jets is a "direct challenge" to an inter-Korean military agreement signed in September 2018 and threatened to develop "special armaments to completely destroy" them.

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