Japan, S.Korea officials meet amid flap

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

Last week, the Japanese government tightened the rules for exporting sensitive materials to South Korea, potentially hurting the country's TV and smartphone manufacturing. South Korea is a major producer of semiconductors used in a wide range of products, and concerns have been raised that the tighter export control could lead to a decrease in semiconductors manufactured in South Korea.

South Korea has proposed an global probe into Japan's accusations that it shipped sensitive industrial materials to North Korea, with the presidential office demanding an apology and a withdrawal of Japan's recent export curbs if the claim turns out to be untrue.

The two sides met Friday for the first time since Japan imposed the curbs last week.

He said South Korea has been imposing stringent export controls on arms and sensitive materials that can be used for both civilian and military purposes as a signatory of major worldwide pacts that govern such transactions.

He said South Korean officials protested that Japan was providing only "very abstract" reasons for its stricter export controls.

A Japanese foreign ministry official said the export curbs were not meant as retaliation in the forced-labour feud although trade minister Hiroshige Seko, in announcing the curbs, had referred to that dispute, saying South Korea's lack of sufficient response to resolve it had seriously damaged trust between them.

"We, on our part, have no other choice but to develop and test the special armaments to completely destroy the lethal weapons reinforced in south Korea.", KCNA news agency reported, citing a government researcher. "There also should be a thorough investigation on (any) Japanese violation", he said.

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South Korea's industry ministry said on Wednesday it had found 156 cases of unauthorised exports of strategic goods as of March since 2015, but none involved North Korea.

South Korea is to buy 40 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin by 2021.

The Seoul High Court ruled that Nippon Steel Corp. pay 100 million won (86,400 USA dollars) in compensation each to the family members of the seven South Korean victims for their wartime forced labor without pay, according to local media reports.

South Korea uses some of the materials to manufacture semi-conductors, which make up a substantial portion of its exports.

Thursday's warning comes as North Korean and US officials are expected to soon resume nuclear negotiations to follow up on their leaders' third meeting at the Korean border late last month.

"We would like to seek a constructive solution, but the Japanese side has not responded yet", he said from Washington before his meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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