South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) has proposed that an international probe be carried out by expert panels of the United Nations Security Council or relevant international organizations to confirm if any violation occurred between South Korea and Japan in the export controls on the four strategic materials. “If Seoul is proven innocent, Tokyo must offer an apology and immediately withdraw its retaliatory export restrictions.” The remarks came after Japan cited Seoul’s alleged violation of North Korea sanctions as the reason for its export restrictions.
Kim Yoo-geun, the secretariat of the NSC, expressed deep regret on Friday over high-profile Japanese officials’ speculative comments over the South Korean government’s alleged violations without clear proof. “If the probe finds that our government did something wrong, we will apologize for it and immediately apply corrective measures,” Kim said, calling for a thorough investigation into possible violations by Japan.
The NSC’s proposal is interpreted as a move to stop Japan from attempting to mobilize public sentiment to win the United States over to its side. An official at the presidential office said that the proposal has been made after a thorough internal investigation and that they are also considering a plan to be inspected alone if Tokyo does not accept the suggestion.
Kim Hyun-chong, the second deputy chief of the National Security Office who is in Washington, told reporters Thursday (local time) that Washington is eager to hold a three-way meeting while the Japanese side appears to be a little passive. Morgan Ortagus, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, also said in Thursday’s briefing, “At the State Department, we’re going to do everything we can to pursue ways to strengthen our relationships between and amongst all three countries.” This signals that Washington would not welcome a prolonged dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.
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