Seoul fires back warn­ing at Tokyo

South Korea threat­ens to re­view se­cu­rity ties with Ja­pan

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

South Korea warned Ja­pan on Thurs­day that it would be forced to re­view se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two key US al­lies if Tokyo pushes ahead with plans to re­move Seoul from its “white list” of trusted trade part­ners.

The squab­ble be­tween the East Asian neigh­bors fol­lows a decades-long quar­rel over Ja­pa­nese forced la­bor dur­ing World War II.

Ja­pan last month un­veiled tough re­stric­tions on ex­ports of chem­i­cals vi­tal to Seoul’s worldlead­ing chip and smart­phone in­dus­try.

Tokyo has also said it will re­move South Korea from its pref­er­en­tial trade sta­tus as early as Fri­day, a move that could affect hun­dreds of key items im­ported to the South and punch a hole in its econ­omy.

Seoul’s For­eign Min­is­ter Kang Kyung-wha met her Ja­pa­nese coun­ter­part Taro Kono on Thurs­day on the side­lines of a re­gional for­eign min­is­ters’ meet­ing in Bangkok and urged Tokyo to walk back the move.

“I made clear the grave con­se­quences it would have on our bi­lat­eral re­la­tions if the mea­sure was im­posed,” she told re­porters.

Kang warned the re­newal of a mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing agree­ment be­tween the coun­tries could be jeop­ar­dized by any “white list” re­moval.

“I said that the se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion frame­work be­tween South Korea and Ja­pan may be af­fected,” she added.

Ja­pan’s chief cab­i­net sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said on Wed­nes­day that his side in­tended to press ahead with the move.

“This pol­icy re­mains un­changed and we will calmly pro­ceed with the for­mal­i­ties,” he told re­porters.

Seoul and Tokyo are Wash­ing­ton’s key se­cu­rity al­lies in the re­gion and crit­i­cal in any fu­ture deal on the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, who is also in Bangkok at­tend­ing the sum­mit of South­east Asian for­eign min­is­ters, has pledged to me­di­ate be­tween the two coun­tries when he meets their diplo­mats on Fri­day.

“We will en­cour­age them to find a path for­ward,” he said ahead of his trip.

Pom­peo is trail­ing his coun­try’s re­booted Asia se­cu­rity strat­egy in Bangkok.

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