Go to contents

Diplomatic vacuum to continue amid Japan's export regulations

Diplomatic vacuum to continue amid Japan's export regulations

Posted July. 03, 2019 07:44,   

Updated July. 03, 2019 07:44


The relationship between South Korea and Japan is growing ever worse. Japan attempts to show its legitimacy regarding economic retaliation on Korea as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stood at the forefront. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been avoiding direct confrontation to prevent against the worsening of the situation. There seems to be no concrete solution, according to South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The Japanese prime minister said in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun on Tuesday that Japan believes that every measure should abide by the World Trade Organization’s rules and Japan’s recent export restriction on Korea is not related to free trade. He defended Japan’s stance as South Korea announced to file a case with the World Trade Organization. Abe mentioned that Japan only adjusted the measure that had been taken based on trust between the two nations. Quoting a Japanese government official, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that it is not the end of the story, which implies that additional measures have been reviewed.

Cheong Wa Dae has avoided a direct mentioning of the issue as the situation could only get worse if President Moon and Cheong Wa Dae show a response. “The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will deal with the current situation for the time being,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said. “Seoul will wait and see until the Japanese Upper House election takes place on July 21, given that Tokyo’s economic measure may have been taken for some political purpose.

The problem, however, is that even a minimum level of a diplomatic channel has not worked out to resolve the conflict between the two nations. “There has been a diplomatic vacuum where any interaction doesn’t exist at all between the leaders of state, and among working-level officials,” said a South Korean ruling party lawmaker. “Seoul and Tokyo should establish a dialogue channel no matter what it takes in order to avoid undesirable results for both nations.”

Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com