North Korea warns of military ‘reaction’ against F-35A jets in South

An F-35 fighter jet takes off for a training mission in Ogden Utah. South Korea took delivery of its first two F-35 jets in March with more slated to arrive this year

South Korea has proposed an investigation by the United Nations or another worldwide body as it continues to reject Japanese claims that Seoul violated sanctions against North Korea.

Japan last week tightened restrictions on the export of three materials used in smartphone displays and chips, following frustration over what it sees as South Korea's failure to act in response to a ruling by one of its courts in October past year ordering Japan's Nippon Steel Corp to compensate people forced into labor during World War II.

During the phone talks, Kang said Japan's trade restriction moves would cause damage to South Korean companies and have a negative impact on world trade as well as US firms, according to South Korean Foreign Ministry.

South Korea uses some of the materials to manufacture semi-conductors, which make up a substantial portion of its exports. Separately, some Japanese media reported that Japanese hydrogen fluoride, which could be used for making chemical weapons, ended up North Korea.

Kim You-geun, South Korea's deputy director of national security, said South Korea has fully enforced United Nations sanctions on North Korea and global export control regimes on sensitive materials and dual-use technology.

Another South Korean official expressed regret at the situation, and said he requested that Japan retract the restrictive export measure.

South Korea insists that its export controls are stronger than Japan's.

On Thursday, North Korea claimed it would develop and test unspecified "special armaments" to destroy US F-35 fighter jets if South Korea continues to deploy them.

North Korea has slammed South Korea for purchasing high-tech US stealth fighters, warning that it will respond by developing unspecified special weapons of its own.

"In the meeting with President Trump in Osaka, President Xi briefed him on China's principled position on the peninsula issue, and pushed the US side to show flexibility and meet the North Koreans half way, including easing sanctions in due course", Geng said.

South Korean officials countered by saying Seoul's export control is tighter than Japan's, and stressed that imposing restrictions on such short notice was improper.

Japan argued the measures are strictly about removing preferable export status due to a "significant loss of trust" between the two countries, while South Korea claimed it is an attempt to undermine its economy over political and historical tensions. "There also should be a thorough investigation on (any) Japanese violation", he said.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, export officials from both sides sat down together on Friday for the first time since the crisis erupted.

Relations between Washington's two Asian allies have always been plagued by memories of Japan's 1910-45 colonisation of the peninsula and the war, including the matter of "comfort women", a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

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