President Moon Jae-in has stressed unity and wisdom as South Korea seeks to reduce its trade dependence on Japan in the wake of Tokyo's new export restrictions.
Moon made the remarks during a meeting on Thursday with the leaders of the five major political parties at the top office, saying South Korea's response to Japan’s trade curbs is the most urgent and important matter facing the nation.
Beginning the meeting, Moon said he hoped for discussions on how to swiftly resolve conflicts with Japan and restart a cooperative relationship between Seoul and Tokyo.
The president also emphasized the need to swiftly pass a long-pending supplementary budget bill to address the grave economic situation and pressed for bipartisan cooperation. He also urged the National Assembly to have in-depth discussions on how to use the extra budget to cope with Japan’s export curbs.
Welcoming the first such meeting in 16 months, Moon hoped the ruling and opposition parties would be unified in their response, saying their cooperation would increase South Korea's leverage in future negotiations with Japan.
Ruling Democratic Party Chairman Lee Hae-chan emphasized the need for long-term plans to deal with Tokyo’s export curbs. While also stressing parliamentary efforts to address the issue, he called for the swift passage of the extra budget bill.
Main opposition Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn called for dialogue between the leaders of the two countries, urging President Moon to push for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Hwang also proposed the government send special envoys to Tokyo and Washington to try and resolve the issue.