See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

Moon reverts to hard line as Japan rejects dialogue

The diplomatic and economic spat between the two countries looks far from over.

Written by

Updated: August 30, 2019

President Moon Jae-in on Thursday renewed his criticism of the Japanese government, calling on Tokyo to face history, returning to his earlier hard-line stance after weeks of calling for dialogue.

“Japan must be honest. Japan has yet to even state an honest reason for its economic retaliation. The Japanese government is trying to rationalize its economic retaliation by baselessly shifting its rhetoric as frequently as necessary,” Moon said, referring to Tokyo’s removal of South Korea from its list of trusted trade partners the previous day.

“No matter what excuse it invokes as justification, it is clear that the Japanese government has linked historical issues to economic matters. I have no other choice but to point out that its attitude is very disingenuous.”

On Wednesday, Tokyo excluded South Korea from its list of trusted trade partners, having rejected Seoul’s calls for dialogue and disregarded hints that Seoul’s decision on the General Security of Military Information Agreement could be changed if Tokyo were to retract its trade restrictions.

Although Japan has made a number of claims to justify its measures — including suggestions that South Korea poses a security risk and is failing to control the flow of strategic materials into North Korea — Seoul interprets Tokyo’s moves as retaliation for the Supreme Court’s rulings on forced labor cases.

Moon went on to highlight Japan’s attitude toward its wartime actions, accusing the Japanese government of distorting history.

“It is an immutable fact that Japan was the perpetrator behind unfortunate chapters of history not only in Korea but also in many other Asian countries,” Moon said.

“The attitude of the Japanese government, which neither acknowledges nor repents its past wrongdoings but rather distorts history, only aggravates the wounds and anguish of the victims. Its preposterous claim to Dokdo — the first part of our territory to fall victim to imperial Japan’s aggression — remains unchanged to this day.”

Moon’s resumption of his direct criticism of Tokyo follows weeks of hints from top South Korean officials that Seoul was willing to engage in dialogue, and to reverse its decision about GSOMIA.

On Aug. 22 Seoul announced plans to forgo the renewal of GSOMIA, saying Japan’s trade restrictions had altered the security cooperation environment between the two countries.

Since then, top officials including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon have urged Japan to reconsider removing South Korea from the whitelist, saying that doing so might lead Seoul to review its decision on GSOMIA. With Seoul having decided not to renew the agreement, GSOMIA will expire Nov. 23.

The decision to terminate the military intelligence-sharing pact has been met with criticism from the US. Officials from both the US Department of State and the Pentagon have issued statements expressing concerns over Seoul’s decision. US officials have since expressed disappointment in both Seoul and Tokyo, saying they hope its two Asian allies can resolve the situation.

However, neither side appears willing to cede any ground.
At Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, Moon once again stressed that the country must turn the situation into an opportunity and vowed countermeasures against Japan.

“Our government has already put in place fallback plans from various perspectives. We will thoroughly implement the measures that have been prepared to minimize damage to our economy and businesses,” Moon said.
“Crucially, we will take this as an opportunity to catapult the Korean economy to a new level by enhancing the competitiveness of manufacturing and other industries. We will also, as a sovereign state, resolutely take steps to respond to Japan’s unwarranted economic retaliation.”

Japan is also showing no signs of any change in stance.

“The biggest problem in Korea-Japan relations today is the issue of laborers from the Korean Peninsula, therefore we will continue to strongly urge Korea to resolve the situation in which international law has been violated by (the South Korean) Supreme Court’s rulings,” Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief Cabinet secretary, said Thursday.

Suga was referring to Japan’s claim that all compensation and damages owed to South Koreans who suffered harm during Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula were settled through a 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the two countries.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

About the Author: ANN’s Board member Mr Zaffar Abbas, Editor of Pakistan’s Dawn has won the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protest Journalists.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

Indonesia slams Singapore for withholding information on nationals treated for COVID-19

Indonesia complains on Singapore insisting to withhold personal information of its citizens showing COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta. The Indonesian government has complained that Singapore insists on withholding the personal information of several Indonesian citizens believed to have shown COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta and tested positive for the lethal virus in the city-state. Jakarta said it was facing difficulties in tracing and isolating those who might have had contact with the patients, now being treated at Singaporean hospitals. “We have asked for the identities of the Indonesian nationals from Singapore. They did not give us the names. How are we going to conduct the tracing in Indonesia? Singapore is adamant on not disclosing their identities,”

By The Jakarta Post
March 13, 2020

Diplomacy, Economics

Seoul stocks sink, trigger first circuit breaker for 5 min in 8 years 

The Kospi plummeted more than 5 per cent during Thursday trading, which triggered the stock exchange to temporarily halt trading on Korea’s main bourse, as investor sentiments weighed on the coronavirus pandemic. The Korea Exchange activated a “sidecar,” meaning it temporarily halted the trading of shares, for five minutes around 1:04 p.m. after Kospi 200 index futures slipped over 5 percent. It was the first time the sidecar had been activated for the Kospi since Oct. 4, 2011, when Greece defaulted on its debts. “The temporarily halt trading was due to the plunging of the Kospi 200 index futures. They plummeted from 256.90 points to 243.90 points — down 13 points, or 5.06 percent at that time for over a minute,” a KRX official said. The s

By Asia News Network
March 12, 2020

Diplomacy, Economics

Final temporary hospital in Wuhan closes its doors

A total of 15 such hospitals, converted from exhibition halls, sports stadiums and warehouses, received more than 12,000 patients. All the 15 temporary hospitals built to exclusively receive novel coronavirus patients in Wuhan, Hubei province, have been closed, with the daily number of reported new cases hitting a record low. Wuchang Temporary Hospital, which was converted from a sports stadium, closed on Tuesday afternoon after its final 49 patients were discharged, making it the last of the temporary hospitals in Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic in China, to close its doors. The hospital, which was converted within two days, received a total of 1,124 patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the 35 days of its operation. No patients died in the hosp

By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Diplomacy, Economics

Social media curbs removed in Jammu and Kashmir after seven months

 Jammu and Kashmir administration removes restrictions on social media use across Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown since the Centre’s announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on Wednesday removed restrictions from social media usage across the Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown on the eve of the Centre’s August 5 announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation. The directions came after a review of the situation by the J&K Home department. The order, issued without the

By The Island
March 10, 2020

Diplomacy, Economics

15 Korean pharmas, 4 state institutes research coronavirus

South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus. South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus, according to news reports Monday. Around 15 firms and four institutes here are burning the midnight oil to get an effective cure, according to Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association. KPBMA Chairman Won Hee-mok emphasized the synergies between private and public research bodies in yielding a faster outcome. The association identified Korean companies working on vaccines — including SK Bioscience, GC Pharma, Boryung Biopharma, Sumagen and G+FLAS Life Sciences. T

By Asia News Network
March 9, 2020

Diplomacy, Economics

‘Incredible India’ now being viewed as intolerant India, says FM Qureshi

 “Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn,” says the foreign minister. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday stated that ‘Incredible India’ is now being viewed as “intolerant India”, and ‘Shining India’ as “burning India”, adding that the country is now facing international scrutiny like never before. The foreign minister expressed these views while speaking at a seminar, organised by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies, in Islamabad. During his address, Qureshi stated: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn, as predicted by Prime Minister Imran Khan.” Referring to the country

By Asia News Network
March 6, 2020