By Lee Hana
President Moon Jae-in on July 15 warned Japan about its recent export restrictions on Korea, saying, "Japan's unprecedented tying of history-related issues to economic ones at this time is truly ill-advised conduct that goes against the history of progress in bilateral relations."
"I warn that in the end, this is going to bring more damage to the Japanese economy," he told a meeting with his senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae.
The president indicated the conspicuousness of the Japanese government's choice of materials used for semiconductors – the core elements of the Korean economy's competitiveness – as its first step in restricting exports. "If that's Japan's intention, it will never succeed," he said.
President Moon also urged Tokyo to return to the negotiating table to reach a diplomatic solution "before it's too late."
Korean companies will use this setback to diversify their import sources and boost domestic production of such materials to break away from their dependence on Japanese parts, he added, and turn this into an opportunity for the Korean economy.
Moreover, the president pledged that his administration will do all it can to reach diplomatic solutions and provide support to affected companies.
He also asked for the support of and cooperation from Korea's politicians and people so that the country can overcome this "grave situation."
The link to the full text of the president's comments can be found below.