Japan-South Korea Tensions Escalate into Tit-for-Tat Trade Conflict
Tokyo, Aug. 14 (Jiji Press)--Tensions between Japan and South Korea over a wartime labor dispute have escalated into a tit-for-tat trade conflict, dragging bilateral relations to the lowest point since the two countries normalized diplomatic ties in 1965.
The South Korea's industry ministry said Monday that it will remove Japan in September from its list of trusted trading partners qualified for preferential treatment in export procedures.
The step is apparently in retaliation for a Japanese decision earlier this month to drop South Korea from its list of trusted trading partners, although the South Korean ministry argued that it had no such intention, pundits said.
"We...cannot help but take Japan's ongoing economic retaliation very seriously," South Korean President Moon Jae-in told senior aides in a meeting on Monday.
Moon's hard-line approach to Japan is apparently aimed at winning public support ahead of National Liberation Day on Thursday, which commemorates South Korea's independence from Japanese colonial rule, as well as the general election scheduled for spring next year, sources familiar with his thinking said.