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South Korea ‘won’t be defeated again’

Reuters TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) — South Korea fired back at Japan over a deepening trade dispute on Friday, pledging it would not be “defeated again” by its neighbor, laying bare decades-old animosity at the root of a row over fast-track export status.

During a rare live television broadcast of his Cabinet meeting, South Korean President Moon Jae-in threatened countermeasures after Japan’s Cabinet approved the removal of South Korea’s fast-track export status from Aug. 28.

Relations between the two U.S. allies began to deteriorate late last year following a row over compensation for wartime laborers during Japan’s occupation, but the language used by Moon was the starkest yet.

“We won’t be defeated by Japan again,” Moon told his Cabinet, pointedly invoking South Korea’s difficult history with Japan, which colonized the Korean Peninsula before World War II.

He described Japan as a “selfish nuisance” for disrupting global supply chains, and aired suspicions over its motive for hobbling a rival economy.

As part of its countermeasures, South Korea will remove Japan from its own “white list” of favored trade countries and speed up the filing of a complaint to the World Trade Organization over Japan’s export controls, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said.Speech

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