Trump offers to help ease tension in Japan-South Korea dispute

File Photo. Photograph:( Agencies )

WION Web Team New Delhi Jul 20, 2019, 08.54 AM (IST)

US President Donald Trump on Friday offered to intervene to ease tensions between South Korea and Japan, which threatens global supplies of memory hips and smartphones.

The political and economic dispute between the two countries, particularly over the issue of compensation for South Koreans forced to work for Japanese occupiers during World War Two, took an ugly turn this month when Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to South Korea.

Trump said South Korean President Moon Jae-in had asked him if he could get involved.

The United States has been hesitant to publicly wade into the feud between its two biggest allies in Asia.

"He tells me that they have a lot of friction going on now with respect to trade, primarily with respect to trade. And Japan has some things that South Korea wants, and he asked me to get involved," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"So maybe if they would both want me to, I'll be. It's like a full-time job getting involved with Japan and South Korea. But I like both leaders."

South Korea's presidential Blue House spokeswoman, Ko Min-jung, said in a statement on Saturday that Moon had asked Trump for help at their Seoul summit on June 30.

(With Reuters inputs)