NSC says Japan’s export curbs breach WTO rules

SEOUL, South Korea's National Security Council (NSC) concluded Thursday that Japan's move to restrict exports of certain tech materials is in clear violation of international trade rules as apparent retaliation.

The standing members of the NSC reviewed issues related to Seoul-Tokyo relations at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul during their regular meeting presided over by Chung Eui-yong, director of the national security office.

They characterized Japan's move as a kind of revenge, which explicitly breaches the norms of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

They have decided to actively explore ways for a diplomatic response to make Japan retract the step, Cheong Wa Dae added.

Filing a complaint with the WTO could be one of the possible diplomatic responses to Japan, a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said later.

The official added that Seoul also plans to explain its position to other countries that Japan's move is unfair and runs counter to the principles of free trade, he added.

Tokyo announced a controversial plan to toughen regulations on the export of some high-tech materials to South Korea, including those used in memory chips and smartphones.

On regional security, the NSC members noted that the weekend Panmunjom event in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bisecting Korea was a historic event that heralds the full-scale start of a new peace era on the peninsula.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at the inter-Korean border on Sunday and had spontaneous bilateral talks. They also had a brief three-way gathering with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The standing NSC members include Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul and National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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