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Will South Korea, Japan patch up bilateral ties or intensify trade war?
Updated: 2020-06-08 05:31:12 KST
We start a discussion on an issue making headlines. Tensions are rising between South Korea and Japan, as contentious historical issues continue to fuel trade and diplomatic disputes between the two neighbors.
South Korea last week decided reopen a complaint filed with the World Trade Organization last year over Tokyo's unilateral export restrictions placed on Korean companies, after a Seoul court ordered Japanese firms to compensate its victims of forced labor during Japan's brutal colonization of Korea in the 1900s.
Bilateral relations have been worsening throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Korea's call for Japan to return to trade talks falling on deaf ears.
But will Seoul's latest move prompt Tokyo to return to dialogue and work on settling their dispute?
We connect with Nancy SNOW, Distinguished Professor of Public Diplomacy at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, and Dr. John Nilsson-Wright, Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Korea Fellow at the Chatham House.

Dr. Snow: Seoul has decided to resume its WTO complaint against Japan's export measures. How do you think this will play out will this force Tokyo to return to talks?

Dr. Nilsson-Wright: A South Korean court announced last week that it will start liquidating the assets of a Japanese firm that ignored rulings in 2018 to compensate the Korean victim's of Japan's wartime forced labor. Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that Japan will respond to the issue with every option on the table. Could this further escalate the trade war and what kind of measures do you expect Japan to take?

Bilateral relations have worsened over the course of the pandemic, and most recently, Japan has shown great displeasure over the expansion of the G7 summit which would include South Korea, Australia, India and Russia. Why do you think the Abe administration is showing such reluctance to improve ties with Seoul?

Some say Prime Minister Abe's recent drop in approval ratings will make the relationship between Korea and Japan more difficult. Do you agree?

With the current absence of global coordination amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, how critical is it that South Korea and Japan put their differences aside and come together?

How should the two countries go about mending their relations? What compromises do you think each side should make?

We'll have to wrap up our discussion here. But thank you for your insights Nancy SNOW, Distinguished Professor of Public Diplomacy at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, and Dr. John Nilsson-Wright, Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Korea Fellow at the Chatham House.

Reporter : osy@arirang.com