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Japan-South Korea rift

Japan and South Korea refuse to budge in first talks on trade feud

After five-hour session, Seoul to seek UN investigation on export controls

Japanese and South Korean trade officials meet July 12 at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo.

TOKYO -- Japanese and South Korean negotiators stand no closer to resolving Asia's newest trade dispute after a five-hour meeting on Friday that marked their first encounter over Tokyo's export curbs on key chipmaking materials.

Trade officials from both sides met at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, running well beyond the initially allotted time. But they spent most of the meeting outlining their country's stances instead of trying to bridge differences.

The talks came a little over a week after Japan said domestic manufacturers no longer could supply three kinds of semiconductor industry chemicals to South Korean companies without government approval.

Japanese officials blamed lax South Korean controls on exports for the change in policy, though they said Tokyo was not reacting to sensitive materials being diverted to third countries, such as North Korea. They offered little detail on what exactly Tokyo saw as inappropriate.

South Korean officials called for a shorter screening process covering the exports and warned that tougher controls could deal a heavy blow to global supply chains, a government spokesperson said.

Separately, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba met here Friday with David Stilwell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. Akiba explained Japan's position on the trade dispute.

Effective July 4, Japan requires government approval for each contract to ship etching gas, photoresist and fluorinated polyimides to South Korea.

The three items, all crucial to chip production, are on a list of sensitive materials that also can be used for military purposes.

South Korea will propose a resolution asking the United Nations Security Council to examine export controls in both Asian countries, the office of President Moon Jae-in said Friday. Seoul wants Japan to apologize and withdraw the curbs if South Korean is found to have done nothing wrong.

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