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The escalating dispute between Japan and South Korea is another major trade headache

Japan and South Korea fail to renew fisheries agreement

Click on the flag for more information about South Korea SOUTH KOREA
Friday, September 13, 2019, 22:50 (GMT + 9)

Japan has spurned South Korea's request to hold talks to work out differences for the renewal of their fisheries agreement, a South Korean official said today.

South Korea sent a letter to Japan in May calling for working-level talks. Last month, Japan replied to South Korea, though it did not mention the proposed talks, according to Park Sung-jun, a director handling the issue at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

A Korean longline fishing boat captured off Takarajima, Toshima-mura, Kagoshima (Kyushu Fisheries Coordination Office, Fisheries Agency)

The two neighbors last held face-to-face talks in June last year, though they failed to renew their fisheries agreement that expired in June 2016.

A key issue is Japan's request that South Korea reduce the number of South Korean longliners that can fishing in Japan's exclusive economic zones by 133 from the current 206, a demand rejected by South Korea.

South Korea said Japan violated their 2015 deal, in which South Korea agreed to cut the number of its long-liners by 40 by 2019 from 206.

Korea (in orange) and Japan (in green)

Seoul said it cannot accept Japan's changed position due to the strong opposition of South Korean fishermen.

The development comes as bilateral relations plunged to their lowest levels in recent decades over a trade row stemming from Japan's wartime use of Koreans as forced labor during its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan has imposed tighter regulations on exports to South Korea of three materials -- resist, etching gas and fluorinated polyimide -- that are critical for the production of semiconductors and flexible displays.

The dispute between Japan's Shinzo Abe and South Korea's Moon Jae-in is historic Photo: credit Kim Kyung-Hoon/AP

Japan also removed South Korea from its "whitelist" of trusted trading partners in retaliation against last year's South Korean Supreme Court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor.

On Wednesday, South Korea filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Japan's export curbs, upping the stakes in the unprecedented trade row between the two Asian neighbors.

South Korea and Japan are close economic partners and key allies of the United States, though they have long been in conflict over territory and other historical disputes.

Source: Yonhap


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