Na Seung-sik, deputy minister of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy's Office of Trade and Investment, speaks during a briefing at a government complex in Sejong, South Korea, June 2, 2020.
Na Seung-sik, deputy minister of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy's Office of Trade and Investment, speaks during a briefing at a government complex in Sejong, South Korea, June 2, 2020.

South Korea says it will reopen a complaint against Japan at the World Trade Organization over Tokyo’s stringent controls over exports of key materials used in South Korea’s technology sector.
 
Seoul initially filed the complaint last September after Tokyo removed the South from its list of trusted trade partners, a move that ended the fast-track process and slowed the export of three critical chemicals used in the manufacture of computer chips and displays. Japan cited unspecified security concerns as a reason for curbing the exports.
 
South Korea halted action on the complaint in November as part of a goodwill gesture aimed at resolving the matter through direct negotiations. But Na Seung-sik, an official with the South’s trade ministry, told reporters Tuesday the talks have been fruitless due to Tokyo’s lack of willingness to settle the dispute. He also said there have been no security-related problems related to the materials over the past 11 months.
 
Seoul believes Japan took the action after a 2018 ruling by South Korea’s high court ordering Japanese companies to provide financial compensation to elderly South Koreans who became forced laborers during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula. Tokyo said the issue was settled under the 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral relations.    
 
The complaint calls on the WTO to open a dispute settlement panel, a process that could take more than a year to resolve.