Last Friday, Japan increased export controls on a greater variety of products to South Korea, furthering the two nations into a trade war. The increased controls was in the form of removing South Korea from a “white list” of countires that face less restrictions for importing senstivie technology. Removing South Korea from the white list occurs on August 28th.
In response, South Korea’s President said they would also remove Japan from their own white list. This trade war worries Washington as both sides have threatened to withdraw from an intelligence-sharing deal that would hurt the US’ efforts to partner with South Korea and Japan in dealing with North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Korea’s foreign minister and Japan’s foreign minister are expected to meet this upcoming Friday in Bangkok.
Japan claims the new export restrictions are not unique to South Korea and not retaliation for the recent South Korean court ruling ordering Japanese companies to pay victims of forced labor during Japan’s colonial occupation of South Korea. The Japanese claimed countries like Taiwan and China will also be subject to export controls. Japan also claims any delays in getting export approval will not be long – even though export approvals for last month’s banned chemicals have yet to be approved.
Will post any updates as soon as the meeting ends on Friday.