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Foreign Ministers of South Korea and Japan Discuss Escalating Trade Tensions

  • South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha had a telephonic conversation with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Friday. During the conversation, Kang pressed for lifting the trade restrictions imposed by Japan on the materials that are needed by the South Korean companies (electronics and smartphone) for producing computer chips. She urged her counterpart not to escalate the trade tension by dropping South Korea from Japan’s white list of countries (with which Japan carries out trade with minimum restrictions). Japan is reportedly going to drop South Korea from its white-list on August 2. The Japan-South Korea trade tensions started mounting during earlier this month when Japan imposed controls on export of 3 chemicals (fluorinated polyamides, hydrogen fluoride, and photoresists) required for manufacturing computer chips and semiconductors. The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan, and China are reportedly going to meet in Beijing in late August for discussing trilateral economic cooperation.