South Korea tightens export controls on Japan

South Korea’s Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2019

South Korea tightens export controls on Japan

  • Dispute fuels concerns over potential implications for security cooperation

SEOUL: South Korea has put Japan into its own new export category as President Moon Jae-in called Tokyo’s latest measures “very serious,” intensifying a trade war between the two neighbors and US allies.
The move came after Seoul announced earlier this month it would remove Tokyo from its list of trusted trading partners, reciprocating an identical decision by Japan.
That followed Tokyo’s imposition of tough restrictions on exports crucial to tech titans such as Samsung following a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to pay for forced labor during the Second World War.
The dispute has raised concerns over the potential implications for their security cooperation in the face of North Korean missile tests, and the possible impact on global supply chains.
At a meeting with his top aides, Moon reflected on Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula in the first half of the 20th century to highlight the gravity of the situation.
“As a victim of great suffering from Japanese imperialism in the past, we, for our part, cannot help but take Japan’s ongoing economic retaliation very seriously,” Moon said.
“It is even more so because this economic retaliation is in itself unjustifiable and also has its roots in historical issues,” he added.
Japan insists its latest measures were enforced on national security grounds.

As a victim of great suffering from Japanese imperialism in the past, we, for our part, cannot help but take Japan’s ongoing economic retaliation very seriously.

Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea

South Korea’s list of trade partners is currently divided into two groups, those who are members of the world’s top four export control agreements and those who are not.
But Seoul’s Trade Ministry said it added a new category for countries that had signed the four pacts “but operate an export control system that violates international norms.”
Japan is the only country in the new category.
“Since it’s hard to work closely with a country that frequently violates the basic rules ... we need an export control system that addresses this,” said South Korean Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo told reporters.
Sung did not offer examples of such violations by Japan.
The revision will be implemented in September, he said, adding that Seoul was open to negotiations with Tokyo.
Japan could look elsewhere for those goods currently sourced from South Korea, a Japanese government official said.
“We can import them from Taiwan. There are few items that can’t be replaced,” the unnamed official told the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Under the new regulations, South Korean firms must submit five documents — from the current three — to win approvals for exporting sensitive items to Japan, with the process taking up to 15 days.


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 20 October 2019

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.