An effort was made by South Korea to bring international pressure to bear on Japan by presenting its complaint at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, the most recent move in a worsening dispute which has seen two biggest Asian allies of Washington lobbing accusations at each other.
South Korea was infuriated by Japan with a plan to ‘normalize’ trade procedures which are currently ‘simplified’, effectively restricting exports to South Korea & setting up a barrier which could disrupt the global supply of semiconductors.
Even though Japan has denied this but it is thought that last year’s ruling by a South Korean court which made Japanese firms pay compensation to South Koreans who were forced to work in Japanese factories during Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula in the past, has something to do with its current actions.
Junichi Ihara, Japanese ambassador told the World Trade Organization meeting that the change in trade procedures was prerogative of Japan, there was nothing unusual, & reflected the failure of Seoul in maintaining dialogue on the shared streamlining of trade procedures.
According to the Japanese authorities, it was also based on the national security concerns, following a few cases of inappropriate export to South Korea which ended up in North Korea, this was denied by South Korea.
This national security claim by Japan could be useful in making it exempt from the rules of the World Trade Organization, where South Korea chose to raise the issue on Wednesday, sending Kim Seung-ho, the deputy trade minister to address the World Trade Organization’s top-level meeting short of a ministerial conference.
Kim told the reporters that it is not at all a trade measure, not even a security measure but rather a genuinely strategically planned to gain the upper hand in the diplomatic rows, he then referred to the forced labor issues.