Following a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in Bangkok on Thursday, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters that the Japanese side did not give a "firm answer" to South Korea's demands that the country remain on Japan's trade list.
After the talks, Kang warned that Seoul could reconsider its participation in a bilateral military intelligence-sharing accord with Japan if Tokyo presses ahead with removing South Korea from the list.
South Korea's presidential office has expressed "deep regret" and vowed a stern response over Japan's decision to take the country off its list of nations with preferred trade status.
Japan first imposed trade restrictions against South Korea in July, requiring Japanese companies to gain government approval in order to export key display and semiconductor materials to South Korea.
This has significantly undermined trust, Japan said, stressing that the move to remove South Korea from its white list has nothing to do with differences on other issues like wartime labour and an ongoing territorial spat.
This Thursday, July 25, 2019, photo provided on Friday, July 26, 2019, by the North Korean government shows a test of a missile launch in North Korea. "It is always focused on the United States - it's never really about Japan and South Korea, even when it looks like it is".
Kono said maintaining effective export control over sensitive goods and technology from a security perspective was Japan's right and that it complied with free trade rules.
They urged the North to "take concrete steps towards its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the US".
Relations between the two nations have deteriorated since a South Korean Supreme Court decision a year ago to award reparations to the country's wartime labourers at Japanese companies during Japan's colonial rule, which lasted from 1910 to 1945.
China threatens to respond to U.S. tariff hike
A ban on exports to China's Huawei, which is part of the ongoing trade war between the USA and China, hangs over the company. He added that the tariffs could be raised if the talks continue to falter, but allowed that they could also be removed.
At a news conference after the Cabinet decision, Hiroshige Seko, the trade minister, denied the measure was retaliation, adding that the move would not have a negative effect on Japanese companies.
"We can not help but see this as affecting the framework of security cooperation between South Korea and Japan", Seoul's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said.
Officials of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on August 2 announced the results of public comments gathered on whether South Korea should be removed from the white list.
Clad in military-type trousers and a belt, the body was found in the Imjin River and appeared to have been dead for at least two weeks, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
The NIS officials did not provide a specific answer when asked whether South Korea was involved in protecting Mr Jo, she said.
Until recently, the history disputes had not affected trade between the two export-dependent countries.
"We're very hopeful that those two countries will together themselves find a path forward, a way to ease the tension that has risen between them over the past handful of weeks", said Pompeo, who said he plans to meet with leaders of the two countries Friday.
Japan, South Korea and the U.S. will hold three-way foreign ministers' talks later on Friday on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Bangkok.
Tokyo says that issue was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized ties between the two countries.