South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that his country's response to Japan's export curbs should not be emotional, but cool-headed and long-minded.
"Our response to Japan's economic retaliation should not be emotional. We need to be determined but also think about fundamental solutions cool-headedly and from a long-term perspective," Moon said during the meeting with his senior secretaries.
His comment came after Japan removed South Korea earlier this month from its whitelist of trusted export partners, which are given preferential export procedure.
Japan tightened regulations last month on its export to South Korea of three materials vital to make memory chips and display panels.
South Korea, in response, also dropped Japan off its whitelist of trusted export partners earlier in the day.
Moon said his country, which suffered severe pains from Japan's past imperialism, took Japan's economic retaliation very gravely as just three days are left before the Liberation Day that marks the Korean Peninsula's liberation from the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial rule.
"Economic retaliation itself is unjustifiable, and it is even more as it started from historical issues. That's why we are more determined than ever ahead of the Liberation Day," said Moon.
Japan's export curbs came in protest against the South Korean top court's rulings that ordered some of Japanese companies, including the Nippon Steel and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries among others, to compensate the South Korean victims who were forced into hard labor without pay during the colonial era.
Japan has claimed the rulings are not in line with international law and run contrary to the foundation of friendly and cooperative relations between the two neighbors since the 1965 normalization of diplomatic ties.
Japan also believes the matter was settled, based on the 1965 accord, which also saw Japan pay 500 million U.S. dollars in financial aid related to the issue of compensation for forced wartime labor.
During the meeting, Moon expressed his respect and thanks to the South Korean people, who resolutely went against Japan's economic retaliation but sought not to damage the friendly relationship between peoples of the two countries.
He vowed to take Japan's export restriction as an opportunity to develop homegrown parts and materials, adding that his government will fulfill its role and responsibility in cooperation with the international community.