[Newsmaker] National Assembly delegation leaves for US to discuss Japan trade curbs

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Jul 24, 2019 - 15:30
  • Updated : Jul 24, 2019 - 15:31

A bipartisan delegation representing South Korea’s National Assembly left for Washington on Wednesday morning to meet with US and Japanese counterparts in hopes of finding a breakthrough in Japan’s latest trade restrictions.

Following the five-day visit to Washington, a separate delegation is to visit Tokyo next week.

“Japan argues that South Korea has violated international law, but does not provide details. I plan to address that during the Korea-US-Japan Trilateral Legislative Exchange Program,” said Rep. Lee Soo-hyuk of the ruling Democratic Party, who is a member of the delegation to the US. 

A bipartisan delegation representing South Korea's National Assembly left for a Washington on Wednesday morning to meet with US and Japanese counterparts. (Yonhap)

Lee added the trade row should be dealt with diplomatically before taking it to a third-party arbitration panel as stated in the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations signed between Korea and Japan.

Japan has been keen on forming a third-party arbitration panel to resolve the dispute over Japan’s wartime wrongdoings -- a move vehemently opposed by South Korea.

The eight-member delegation to the US will meet with members of the US Senate and Congress as well as high-level government officials to convey South Korea’s position on the recent trade curbs slapped by Tokyo on three key tech materials. 

The measure is widely seen as retaliation against rulings by the Korean top court, which ordered Japanese companies to compensate victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor.

The lawmakers’ itinerary also includes the 26th Korea-US-Japan Trilateral Legislative Exchange Program on Friday, where Korean lawmakers will deliver a resolution urging Japan to drop the trade restrictions.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang has sent letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Japan’s House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima expressing worries about “Japan’s arbitrary and retaliatory measure, which goes against the principles of the market economy.”

The eight-member delegation heading to Tokyo next week is in the process of contacting prominent Japanese politicians, including House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima and Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (