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S. Korean political circle in emergency mode to tackle Japan's 'whitelist' decision

South Korea's parliament and political parties held emergency meetings Friday to draw up measures to tackle Japan's decision to remove South Korea from a list of trusted trading partners.

Earlier in the day, Japan's Cabinet approved a proposal to strip South Korea from the "whitelist" of countries subject to preferential trade status in additional economic retaliation over a row surrounding Japan's wartime forced labor.

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang expressed "deep regret" over Japan's decision after presiding over an emergency meeting with senior aides.

"I cannot help voicing my disappointment with the (Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe Cabinet," Moon was quoted as saying by Han Min-soo, parliamentary spokesman.

"All responsibility for diplomatic, security and economic repercussions of that decision fall on the Abe Cabinet," he said.

Rival parties held emergency meetings with their lawmakers to come up with measures against Japan's economic retaliatory measures.

Justice Party (Yonhap)
Justice Party (Yonhap)

The National Assembly has yet to decide whether to hold meetings of standing parliamentary committees over the issue.

Korean political parties displayed rare bipartisanship to cope with Japan's export curbs against South Korea.

Last week, the foreign affairs committee adopted a parliamentary resolution urging Japan to immediately withdraw its export restrictions. The resolution is expected to be put to vote at a plenary meeting later in the day following changes in the wording.

A parliamentary delegation of Korean lawmakers visited Japan earlier this week to help resolve an intensifying trade spat with Japan.

But they returned home empty-handed late Thursday after a leading Japanese politician abruptly canceled a planned meeting designed to discuss the row.