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U.S. ambassador urges Seoul, Tokyo to resolve issue by themselves

U.S. ambassador urges Seoul, Tokyo to resolve issue by themselves

Posted July. 13, 2019 07:51,   

Updated July. 13, 2019 07:51


While the U.S. Department of State has hinted at a possible intervention in the current conflicts between South Korea and Japan, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said Friday that it is desirable for the disputes to be resolved by the countries concerned themselves, stressing a need for the two neighboring countries to engage in talks.

In a meeting with Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, lawmaker of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) who chairs the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, Harris reportedly said that South Korea and Japan, both as mature countries, have an ability to resolve issues and that it seems the bilateral issues can be resolved through the government, businesses, and the parliaments. The U.S. ambassador is also reported to have commented that the United States may make a move if the countries concerned fail to address the issue or the issue is seen to be affecting U.S. businesses or security. This indicates that Washington may intervene if a prolonged row between the two countries would start to deal a blow to the U.S. economy. Still, Harris reportedly did not mention Tokyo’s allegations such as Seoul’s violation of sanctions against North Korea.

In the meantime, Rep. Yoon apparently called for the United States to play a more active role given that Japan may impose another set of restrictions or take the case to the International Court of Justice after next Thursday, its proposed deadline of setting up an arbitration panel.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com