The United States is trying to ease the tensions between its two Eastern Asian allies - Japan and South Korea - over Tokyo's export restriction of crucial high-tech materials to Seoul, the U.S. Department of State said Thursday.
However, Japan maintained that the tighter export controls were not a retaliatory measure against South Korea, saying that Seoul had failed to show a satisfactory solution to the ongoing wartime labor dispute between both parties.
South Korean officials have rejected Japan's reasons for enforcing strict new controls on exports of certain materials to its neighbor, and called for another round of talks within the month.
Seoul believes the export curbs, which are expected to hurt chipmakers in South Korea such as Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc., are in retaliation for its handling of South Korean court decisions ordering Japanese companies to compensate victims of forced labor during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule.
"To halt unnecessary disputes and to determine factual basis of the Japanese government's claims, we suggest a panel of UN Security Council experts or an appropriate global organization to conduct a fair investigation into any cases of four major export control violations by South Korea and Japan", Kim said.
But at a hastily-called press conference after the comment by the South Korean official, an official at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said such a request was not made in explicit terms.
The feud may also complicate US efforts to denuclearize the peninsula.
Seoul's presidential office said Friday that South Korea has been thoroughly implementing United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
Japan's curbs are a blow to South Korea, as the world's biggest supplier of computer chips and displays used in TVs and smartphones needs the chemicals.
South Korea presented the figures to underscore that its export controls are safe, but Japan says those figures support its claim that South Korea is failing at proper export management. "We, on our part, have no other choice but to develop and test. special armaments to completely destroy the lethal weapons reinforced in South Korea". "And there should be a thorough investigation into any violation by Japan". Chinese state media reported that a JY-26 long-range, three-dimensional radar in Shandong Province succeeded in detecting an F-22 stealth fighter that was flying over South Korean air space.
The statement, which also urged South Korea to abandon its "preposterous illusions" for improved ties, comes as Seoul has expressed hopes that a recent summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will help revive dialogue between the Koreas.