This week’s Friday became a momentous date as two pivotal events occurred: US-China trade war negotiations and Japan-South Korea bilateral talks. Contrasting to the US-China trade negotiations, Japan-South Korea’s was more futile.
The bilateral talks at the World Trade Organization in Geneva were rather fruitless. Despite WTO’s moderating, neither Japan nor South Korea was willing to alter their respective stance.
Chung Hae-kwan, the chief South Korean delegations, was sure that Japan was violating WTO laws by imposing tariffs and bans on Korea. Furthermore, he argued that Japan was doing this chiefly due to historical reasons.
For instance, Chung Hae-kwan was referring to WTO’s Article 11 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Accordingly, the article regulates ban regulations of trade products and volumes depending on the level of threats to the national security.
Japanese chief delegation, Junichiro Kuroda, was under the faith that Japan’s stance regarding additional tariffs was necessary. Japan was solely solicitous about Korea’s export management system, thus debunking the allegations of having historical basis.
“Japan is concerned about the vulnerability of South Korea’s export management system. We are allowing (the export of the affected items) once their civilian use is verified. So it is not an embargo,” Kuroda explained.
Japan and South Korea: Talks Continue
Despite projecting a rather unfruitful conclusion, both Japan and South Korea agreed that the talks might continue in the future. South Korea, in particular, is the more eager party to resume the discourse.
“We agreed that further consultations are necessary, and decided to schedule a second round of bilateral talks through diplomatic channels,” Chung Hae-kwan stated. “Bilateral consultations usually end in one round, but the fact that we agreed to meet again means that both countries are ready for dialogue and willing to work together.”
Meanwhile, Japan expressed less interest in continuing the talks at WTO. In its defense, Japan perceives these talks as Korea’s ‘inappropriate’ endeavors for their very own political interests.
That said, Japan is still willing to attend the subsequent meetings if this continues. However, this does not indicate that Japan will change its stance.
“We gave a full explanation in response to questions from the South Korean side,” Kuroda told reporters.
Regarding the continuation, it will most likely occur on early November. However, if after 60 days since the request was made, September 11, the countries could not settle their dispute, WTO has the rights to establish a panel to delve into the matter.