North Korea slams Japan over its trade spat with Seoul

North Korea’s state media has slammed Japan for its recent trade restrictions against Seoul over wartime slavery disputes, accusing Tokyo of “destroying the trend of peace” on the Korean peninsula. After South Korea’s high court ordered Japanese firms that used forced labour to compensate Korean victims, Tokyo earlier this month restricted the export of several chemicals to South Korea that are crucial to its world-leading chip and smartphone companies. South Korea’s left-leaning President Moon Jae-in, who favours engagement with Pyongyang, has said Tokyo’s actions are “politically motivated” and have caused an “unprecedented emergency” for Seoul’s export-driven economy. North Korea has repeatedly warned the South to stop “meddling” in nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, but sided with Seoul for its trade row with Tokyo. Japan is one of the most hawkish of the major powers on the nuclear-armed North – whose leader Kim Jong Un agreed to a resumption of dialogue with Tokyo and Seoul’s major ally the US last month – and has received some of Pyongyang’s harshest rhetoric. Japan is “trying to destroy the trend of peace on the Korean Peninsula by putting pressure upon South Korea through the restrictions”, reported the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday night, describing Japan as its “sworn enemy”.

DailyTimes, 20 Jul, 2019

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