US diplomat says United States won't intervene in Japan-South Korea dispute

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell speaks to reporters as he arrives at Narita international airport in Tokyo on July 11, 2019.
US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell speaks to reporters as he arrives at Narita international airport in Tokyo on July 11, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The top US diplomat for East Asia urged Japan and South Korea to settle a dispute over Japanese export restrictions through dialogue and said the United States did not plan to intervene, NHK reported on Friday (July 12).

Mr David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told NHK in an interview the United States encourages both sides to focus on other issues in the region, notably North Korea, the Japanese public broadcaster said.

Japan and South Korea are locked in a diplomatic row after Tokyo last week slapped export curbs on key materials used by South Korean tech companies, citing a dispute with Seoul over the issue of forced labourers at Japanese firms during World War II.

Mr Stilwell is also scheduled to visit South Korea during his trip to Asia, his first since taking up his post last month.