Seo Jee-yeon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce, declined to comment. Washington insists on a “status quo agreement” to allow more time for talks Washington is also concerned that Japan will follow its threat to remove South Korea from its so-called white list of countries with minimum restrictions on trade in high-tech materials, the official said. WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The United States is concerned that trade and diplomatic tensions between South Korea and Japan will escalate and urge both sides to consider a “status quo agreement” to allow more time for talks, a U.S. administration official said on Thursday. The comments came a day before Japan could face the threat of reducing preferential trade agreements for technology with South Korea. Relations between the two U.S. allies have fallen to their lowest level since the normalization of relations in 1965. The U.S. proposal came amid speculation that on August 2, Japan could authorize a change in the export and trade control regulations, which excludes South Korea from its “white list” of countries likely to gain trade benefits. The South Korean government has taken a hard line and has proposed not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan. The decision on whether to extend it should be made by August 24. According to a person familiar with the case, Yoo even asked his American colleagues to include the issue in bilateral trade negotiations with Tokyo.
These negotiations are expected to resume at ministerial level between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi later this week. They argue that another trade war in Asia – in addition to the U.S.-China conflict – could only continue to hamper the global supply chain and disrupt production of semiconductors and advanced screens on which U.S. companies manufacture their smartphones and tablets. In a letter to the Japanese and Korean trade ministers, five of the largest U.S. technology industry groups said the dispute could “cause long-term damage to companies operating within and outside your borders and to the workers who employ them.” BANGKOK/WASHINGTON/TOKYO – A trade dispute between South Korea and Japan is in danger of spiraling out of control, and both governments want the White House on their side. Japan could decide as early as Friday to remove South Korea from a “white list” of countries subject to minimum trade restrictions, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The United States has asked South Korea and Japan to consider signing a “status quo agreement” on an escalation of the trade dispute in order to buy time to negotiate, Washington reported On July 30 (local time), Reuters reported. WASHINGTON, July 30 (Yonhap) — The United States has asked South Korea and Japan to consider signing a “status quo agreement” to allow time to negotiate a growing trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo, Reuters reported Tuesday. Evan Medeiros, who served on Obama`s National Security Council, referred in a Washington Post article to Obama`s silent intervention in what he called the lowest in Japan-South Korea relations. “Washington is the only actor that both sides will listen to.” Export restrictions, which affect key materials used in the manufacture of semiconductors and billboards, were seen in Seoul as a retaliation for South Korean court decisions to compensate South Korean victims of forced labour during the war. As a result, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Bangkok is expected to be a turning point in the conflict between Korea and Japan.
Japan believes that some of Seoul`s actions have “shaken confidence between Tokyo and Seoul, confidence in the basis of this relationship, and even on it, it seems, to have been calculated for political implications to fuel anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea,” he said.