N.Korea Threatens Seoul Over Purchase of Stealth Fighters

North Korea threatens to “destroy” South’s F-35 stealth fighter jets

On Friday, a South Korean security, industry and trade representative arrived in Tokyo for discussions on Japan's move to tighten controls on hi-tech exports.

South Korea says the restrictions on photoresists and other sensitive materials could hurt its economy and global supply chains.

South Korean trade ministry officials "clearly" called on Japan to drop its export restrictions on the neighboring country at a bilateral meeting on Friday, a Seoul official told Reuters on Saturday, rebutting Tokyo's claims that Seoul did not make such a demand.

However, Japan maintained that the tighter export controls were not a retaliatory measure against South Korea, saying that Seoul had failed to show a satisfactory solution to the ongoing wartime labor dispute between both parties.

Working-level talks between Japanese and South Korean export control officials ran over the intended time frame Friday, highlighting the complexity of the economic spat between the two Asian neighbors in the wake of Tokyo's decision to strengthen export evaluations on three chemicals key to chip and display panel production.

Earlier on Thursday, the U.S. State Department said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken by phone on Wednesday with his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and the state of U.S. -Japan-South Korea ties.


Seoul's presidential office said Friday that South Korea has been thoroughly implementing United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. Instead, it said the curbs were introduced in response to Seoul's lack of export control on key strategic items.

North Korea slammed South Korea over its ongoing deployment of high-tech US fighter jets, warning Thursday that it will respond by developing and testing unspecified special weapons of its own to "destroy" the aircraft.

The official said he and his colleague asked to start negotiations for the removal of the measures, but the Japanese refused.

One reason for the sensitivity over characterizing the talks could be a Japanese fear that if Korea can assert that it used consultations and unsuccessfully sought to have Tokyo withdraw the curbs, Seoul could justify escalating the matter to the World Trade Organization.

An official from the North Korean Foreign Ministry said the purchase of the jets is a "direct challenge" to an inter-Korean military agreement signed in September 2018 and threatened to develop "special armaments to completely destroy" them.

"Meanwhile, the South Korean reaction has likely convinced Abe that he has hit a pressure point. and could encourage his administration to intensify the pressure to goad Moon into surrendering".

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