Tokyo/Seoul, July 19: Japan’s foreign minister Taro Kono on Friday summoned South Korean ambassador in an escalating diplomatic spat over compensation for forced labour during World War II that threatens global supply chain of mobile’s display screens and memory chips.
The dispute took a sudden tragic turn today when a South Korean national set himself on fire while protesting apparently in front of the Japanese embassy in S Korea’s capital Seoul, according to Reuters news reports.
Kono has summoned Seoul’s ambassador to Tokyo, Nam Gwan-pyo, for a meet, a day after Japan’s midnight deadline for South Korea to approve a third-nation arbitration of the forced wartime labour dispute passed.
However, Seoul has dismissed the third-country arbitration with Kono stating South Korea must take some swift actions to correct what Tokyo says was an unacceptable ruling of last year by Seoul’s Supreme Court ordering two Japan’s companies to compensate the wartime workers.
Tokyo says the compensation issue was settled under a 1965 accord which maintained diplomatic ties between the two countries following World War Two.
“What the South Korean government is doing now is equivalent to subverting the post-World War Two international order,” Kono said at the beginning of the meeting.
Nam replied Seoul was working closely every day to establish a surrounding where the lawsuits could be handled within a practice that would be agreed or acceptable by both sides and cause no harm to bilateral relations.
“Hold on,” Kono said. “We’ve already told the South Korean side the South Korean proposal was totally unacceptable, and that is not something that would redress the situation where international law is violated. It is extremely impertinent to propose it again by pretending to not know that.”
However, neither official described the plan specific they were discussing. Seoul’s trade ministry has on Friday reiterated calls for Tokyo to hold serious dialogues by July 24 about Japan’s export curbs to South Korea’s chipmaking giant that was imposed earlier this month.