Japan to reinstate S. Korea to trading 'white list' amid DPRK tensions
The Japanese government has decided to restore South Korea's trusted trading partner status as of July 21.
The Japanese government has announced that it will restore South Korea to its list of trusted trade partners as of July 21, after Seoul was removed from the list over a historical forced labor dispute.
This follows Seoul's reinstatement of Tokyo to its "white list" earlier this year as the two US allies take steps to improve ties.
South Korea will start benefiting from a fast-track approval process when the decision is implemented, Tokyo's trade ministry said on Tuesday.
The dispute stems from Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula as families' workers exploited by Japan during its colonial era demanded recompensation for the hardships they endured.
However, in a bid to restore ties, the two governments have brushed aside historical tensions, in hopes of strengthening the US led-front in the face of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
President Yoon Suk-Yeol of South Korea's new administration has chosen to prioritize normalizing ties rather than seeking reparations from Japan, which coincides with increased security cooperation and large-scale joint military drills.
Earlier on June 4, the Japanese Defense Ministry announced that Japan has agreed with South Korea to develop security cooperation along with the US to track and deter the DPRK's supposed nuclear and missile threats.
"Based on the necessity of responding to the severe security environment in the region such as North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, as well as global challenges, the two Ministers concurred on the importance of promoting Japan-ROK and Japan-ROK-US defense cooperation," the ministry stated.
DPRK confronts US provocations
On the other hand, the DPRK Foreign Ministry’s Institute for American Studies warned in a report on Monday that the Korean peninsula is on "the brink of a nuclear war" amid provocations on the part of the US and South Korea.
"...bellicose moves of the US have pushed the military tensions on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia already plunged into an extremely unstable situation closer to the brink of a nuclear war," the report, released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), said as quoted by the South Korean Yonhap news agency.
The report also states that the US has been increasingly posing a serious threat to the DPRK's national security and sovereignty, noting that Pyongyang can no longer tolerate it.
It further condemns the US and South Korea for their "delusional anti-communist military confrontation" and "rhetorical threats," warning that a war in the peninsula would "rapidly expand into a world war and a thermonuclear war unprecedented in the world," causing "the most catastrophic and irreversible consequences."
The DPRK will continue to pursue an agenda of strengthening its self-defense capabilities as long as the US continues its provocations, the report concludes.