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South Korea calls for probe as forced labour feud with Japan deepens

South Korea calls for probe as forced labour feud with Japan deepens

It comes amid deep frustration in Japan over what is seen as Seoul's failure to act in response to a South Korean court ruling ordering a Japanese company to compensate former laborers.

South Korean authorities "know well that the bringing-in of the Fighters would prove to be an extremely risky action which will trigger our reaction", an unnamed researcher at the Institute for American Studies of North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported that Japan and South Korea would hold talks in Tokyo on Friday at Seoul's request to discuss the export restrictions, the first of this kind since Japan implemented the measure last week.

Citing security concerns, Tokyo last week placed strict controls on exporting materials for tech components to South Korea, which denies violating sanctions.

"Japan and South Korea are, of course, not only friends, they're allies. we're going to do everything we can to pursue ways to strengthen our relationships between and amongst all three countries, both publicly and behind the scenes", U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said at a press briefing. He demanded that Japan provide evidence for claims made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his conservative aides that there may have been illegal transfers of sensitive materials from South Korea to North Korea.

"We. have no other choice but to develop and test the special armaments to completely destroy the lethal weapons reinforced in South Korea", it said.

Japan's curbs are a blow to South Korea, as the world's biggest supplier of computer chips and displays used in TVs and smartphones needs the chemicals.

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New Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell is now in Japan as part of an Asia tour that includes a visit to Seoul next week, sparking speculation that he could play a role in de-escalating the trade row between South Korea and Japan.

South Korea's industry ministry said on Wednesday it had found 156 cases of unauthorised exports of strategic goods as of March since 2015, but none involved North Korea.

Japanese officials have declined to comment directly on the media reports that South Korea had shipped materials to North Korea.

The Japanese ministry official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the export restrictions were "necessary measures related to security".

"The positions still differ (between the two sides)", Lee said.

"Meanwhile, the South Korean reaction has likely convinced Abe that he has hit a pressure point. and could encourage his administration to intensify the pressure to goad Moon into surrendering".