Tokyo, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — Japan said Tuesday it does not plan to retract or renegotiate its stricter controls on high-tech exports to South Korea, a day after the South Korean president urged that the issue be resolved through diplomacy.
Tokyo tightened the approval process for Japanese shipments of photoresists and other sensitive materials to South Korean companies last week.
Japanese officials say such materials can be exported only to trustworthy trading partners, hinting at security risks without citing specific cases. They have rejected suggestions that the move was driven by a deterioration in ties between the two countries related to historical issues.
"The measure is not a subject for consultation and we have no intention of withdrawing it either," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference.
He was responding to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's appeal for a diplomatic solution thorough "sincere" bilateral discussions, urging Tokyo to withdraw what he described as a politically motivated measure.
Moon said Monday his country would be forced to take countermeasures if the restrictions on materials used mainly in semiconductors and displays cause damage to South Korean companies. The trade curbs have raised concern over possible disruptions for South Korean manufacturers and global supply chains, he said.
South Korea's Trade Ministry says Seoul plans to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization.
Japan's trade measures followed recent South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese companies to compensate South Korean plaintiffs for forced labor during World War II.
The export restrictions cover fluorinated polyimides, which are used in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for TVs and smartphones, and photoresist and hydrogen fluoride, used for making semiconductors.
Japanese officials say those chemicals are sensitive materials that could be used in fighter jets, radars and chemical weapons. They say the decision to tighten export controls was based on a lack of trust that posed a risk to national security.
They haven't elaborated on the alleged security risks, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ultra-conservative aides have hinted there may have been illegal transfers of sensitive materials from South Korea to North Korea.
"South Korea says it is adequately abiding by the sanctions and that it is properly carrying out export controls. But South Korea, with its handling of the former Korean wartime laborers issues, clearly demonstrated that it is a country that does not keep promises. Naturally, we have to assume it also fails to keep promises on export controls," Abe said Sunday on a Fuji Television talk show.
On another Fuji talk show last week, Koichi Hagiuda, a senior lawmaker in Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, said some chemical exports were unaccounted for. A day later, former defense minister Itsunori Onodera mentioned a South Korean newspaper report in May about illegal shipments of sensitive materials that could have ended up in North Korea and Iran via third countries. It did not cite any sources.
South Korea denied the allegations, summoning a Japanese embassy official to protest Abe's suggestion that it could not be trusted to faithfully implement sanctions against North Korea, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim In-chul said Tuesday.
South Korean officials say there is no evidence to back up such claims and that Seoul has been properly implementing international sanctions against the North over its nuclear weapons program.
Sung Yun-mo, South Korea's Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, said Tuesday that an "emergency inspection" of companies that process and export the chemicals imported from Japan found no sign of illegal transactions allowing them to reach North Korea or any other country affected by United Nations sanctions. He said only Japan had questioned the credibility of South Korean export controls.
"Japan should immediately stop its groundless claims," Sung said. He demanded that Japan disclose and share relevant information in line with U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Japan's trade and industry minister Hiroshige Seko said Tuesday that Tokyo would arrange a meeting, at the request of South Korean export control authorities, to explain the export controls. South Korea has not yet asked Japan to resolve the dispute through the WTO, he said.
"It totally depends on South Korea's response," Seko said.
Tokyo, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — Asian shares retreated Tuesday in quiet trading as investors awaited signs of what might be ahead for U.S. interest rates.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was flat at 21,526.22, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.3% to 6,653.60. South Korea's Kospi was marginally lower, down 0.1% at 2,063.14. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.4% to 28,221.67, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.2% to 2,927.34.
Shares fell on Wall Street overnight amid growing speculation an unexpectedly strong pickup in U.S. employment growth last month lead the Federal Reserve to hold back on aggressively cutting its benchmark interest rate. Many investors still expect a cut of a quarter percentage point, but fewer are now expecting a half-point reduction.
The market rallied through much of June after the Federal Reserve signaled that it's prepared to cut interest rates to offset slowing global growth and the fallout from U.S. trade conflicts.
The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to 2,975.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.4% to 26,806.14. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.8% to 8,098.38. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks dropped 0.9% to 1,561.39.
Investors will be listening closely for any hints on the central bank's interest rate policy on Wednesday and Thursday, when Powell delivers the Fed's semi-annual monetary report to Congress.
"After getting accustomed to trading the bad news is good news regime, investors are still struggling with the good news is the bad direction," Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets in Singapore said in a commentary.
"They shouldn't be as on the macro level; there is still no sign of a turnaround for eurozone activity data or China for that matter," Innes said. "Suggesting downside global growth momentum remains the path of least resistance and if this doesn't trigger a deluge of central bank easing, not sure what will."
ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil dipped 15 cents to $57.51 a barrel. It rose 15 cents to $57.66 a barrel Monday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, fell 16 cents to $63.95 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.86 Japanese yen from 108.40 yen Monday. The euro weakened to $1.1213 from $1.1230.
Washington, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — The State Department is proposing the sale of $2.2 billion in arms to Taiwan, including 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, sidestepping protests from China.
The tanks represent a significant upgrade to Taiwan's aging armored battle fleet. Congress has been notified of the proposed sale and lawmakers can vote to stop it.
The Chinese foreign ministry has said it firmly opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as its territory.
The State Department says the arms will help Taiwan "meet current and future regional threats" and enhance its ability to operate with the U.S. and other partners.
Taiwan split from China in 1949, and has no formal diplomatic ties with the U.S. America is Taiwan's main supplier of defensive weapons.
Versailles, July 8 (AP/UNB) — Bourbon that leaked from a fire that destroyed a Jim Beam barrel warehouse in Kentucky is making its way to the Ohio River.
State environmental officials say they're assessing wildlife impacts and doing fish kill counts along the waterways near the Woodford County facility.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet says in a release on social media that an "alcohol plume" from the bourbon runoff in the Kentucky River is approximately 23 miles (37 kilometers) long.
The cabinet says the bourbon should dissipate very quickly once it reaches the much larger body of water.
Officials estimate about 45,000 barrels of bourbon were destroyed in the fire that started Tuesday. It was extinguished over the weekend.
Washington, July 8 (AP/UNB) — Elizabeth Warren raised $19.1 million in the second quarter of fundraising this year, her campaign said Monday, cementing her status in the top tier of Democratic presidential contenders and surpassing Bernie Sanders, her main liberal rival.
The strong showing leaves the Massachusetts senator behind only Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who reported nearly $25 million, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who has tallied $21.5 million since his candidacy began in late April.
Perhaps most notably, Warren raised more money than Sanders, who is also vying for liberal voters and is the only other candidate who has joined her in swearing off high-dollar fundraisers.
The strong showing is a sign of the grip Warren is gaining over the party's progressive base. Sanders easily won over these voters during the 2016 presidential primary as the sole liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton. But he faces more competition during his second run, and Warren's steady stream of ambitious policy plans may come at his expense.
"To sum it up: We raised more money than any other 100% grassroots-funded campaign," said Roger Lau, Warren's campaign manager, said in a glancing reference to Sanders. "That's big."
Warren more than tripled the $6 million she raised in the first three months of 2019 , when she silenced some skeptics of her long-term fundraising viability following her decision to rely on grassroots rather than high-dollar donations. The campaign's $19.1 million came from more than 384,000 contributors giving more than 683,000 donations.
That's less than the nearly 1 million individual donations Sanders' campaign reported, but comparable with the 725,000 online donations that President Donald Trump's reelection campaign reported during the second quarter. More than 80% of Warren's second-quarter donors were first-time contributors.
Warren's extensive organizing apparatus, particularly in early voting primary states, remains both a formidable asset — and a significant cost — as the campaign prepares to report $19.7 million in cash on hand. Her operation counts more than 300 paid staff members, 60% of whom are in the four early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, according to the campaign.
While a staffing footprint of that size is likely to spark questions about Warren's high spending rate among some of her presidential rivals, her team has already underlined its confidence that the campaign will have enough resources for the long term.
"Overall, the Warren operation has a six-figure number of people who own a piece of the campaign and an eight-figure amount of money to go execute the plan. So, game on," Warren adviser Joe Rospars tweeted after her first quarter fundraising tally emerged.
Beyond Sanders, Warren's success also could pose a threat to California Sen. Kamala Harris, whose $12 million second quarter fundraising got a major boost in the final days of last month from her performance in the first Democratic debate. Both Warren and Harris hold a natural appeal to Democratic voters seeking to select a female nominee to go up against Trump, and Warren is making headway with black women even as Harris seeks a foothold as the primary's lone black female candidate.
As Warren rises in the fundraising chase, she has also gained strength in some Democratic primary polls conducted since the first round of debates. While Biden appears to remain the front-runner, his margin over the pack of candidates that includes Warren, Sanders and Harris has narrowed. A national poll released last week by Quinnipiac University also found Warren increasing her standing among voters as the candidate with superior policy proposals.
Warren's energetic output of policy proposals has helped her push past a rocky start in the primary. That fast pace isn't likely to change as the Democratic campaign nears an expected winnowing from about two dozen candidates.
This week alone, Warren is scheduled to hold a town hall in Milwaukee after joining a half-dozen other Democratic presidential hopefuls at a gathering hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens. She'll then head to Philadelphia for Netroots Nation, an annual conference for progressive activists.
"In the weeks and months ahead, we'll keep growing our movement across the country and Elizabeth will keep rolling out new plans to level the playing field for working people," Lau wrote in an email to supporters.
Warren was already a guaranteed presence in this fall's Democratic primary debates, which require at least 130,000 donors as well as minimum polling performance, according to rules set by the Democratic National Committee. She'll likely be joined on that stage in the fall by a rival whose showing she praised after last month's first debate: former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, who reported on Monday that he had met the higher donor threshold needed to qualify.