S. Korea to Restore Japan’s Trusted Trading Partner Status

Yonhap via AP
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the president office in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

SEOUL (Jiji Press) — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol unveiled plans Tuesday to put Japan back on his country’s “white” list of trusted trading partners qualified for preferential treatment in export procedures.

Yoon told a cabinet meeting that he will instruct the trade minister Tuesday to start legal procedures to restore Japan’s status as a white-list country.

South Korea removed Japan from the list in September 2019 after Japan took a similar step the previous month.

Yoon’s remarks came after Japan said Thursday it would lift its strict restrictions on semiconductor exports to South Korea while Seoul said it would withdraw a complaint filed with the World Trade Organization against the curbs.

South Korea also on Tuesday informed Japan of its decision to fully restore a military intelligence-sharing pact between Tokyo and Seoul, known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA.

Yoon apparently aims to give further impetus to the momentum toward improved ties with Japan that was created when he met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Thursday.

The president said Japan and South Korea need to leave their past behind. Referring to criticism that Kishida did not apologize for Japan’s wartime past, Yoon said Japan has already expressed its regret and apology on dozens of occasions for history issues.