South Korean protesters hold up signs calling for a boycott of Japanese products at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in July. South Korean authorities said Friday that high-level trade talks have been scheduled between the two countries for December. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 29 (UPI) -- In the shadow of the United States trade war with China, South Korea's trade ministry said Friday it will hold high-level trade negotiations with Japan to end its long-running standoff.
Japan, which has the world's third-largest economy behind the United States and China, and neighboring South Korea, ranked 12th, have had strained economy relations for years shaped decades ago by past wars and mistrust.
Lower-level trade negotiators from both countries met Thursday to hammer out details for the talks in December.
"Through the meeting, the two countries agreed to meet in Tokyo around the third week of December on export policies," South Korea's trade ministry said in a statement. "During the December meeting, the two countries plan to exchange opinions on various domestic and external situations related to export control."
While the talks, which could fall from Dec. 16 to 20, would be the first between the two countries in more than three years, major differences in what the talks even mean, remain.
Some Japanese officials believe the talks are an opportunity to confirm progress made by South Korea on its system of trade controls. South Korea, though, is expected to ask Japan to abolish its export controls through negotiations.
"It is important that the two sides confirm each other's current standpoints through discussions, and meaningful moves at the talks," Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said.