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segunda-feira, 29 de julho de 2019

Crise Japao-Coreia do Sul se agrava: pode ficar pior - Reuters, Kyodo, July 29, 2019

Korean Air to suspend flights between South Korea’s Busan and Japan’s Sapporo as trade row deepens

  • Reuters, Kyodo, July 29, 2019
  • The airline cited falling demand amid the trade conflict as a reason, and said it was also considering cutting the number of flights between both countries
  • The move comes as several South Korean cities said they would suspend administrative exchanges with Japan until the bilateral relationship improved

Korean Air Lines will suspend its flights between the South Korean city of Busan and Japan’s Sapporo from September 3 because of falling demand amid a worsening diplomatic and economic row between the two neighbours.
South Korea’s top carrier is also considering cutting the number of flights between the two countries or shifting to smaller aircraft from mid-August, a spokesman said.
The number of travellers from South Korea was second only to those from China, accounting for 24.2 per cent of visits last year, according to data from Japan National Tourism Organisation.
The carrier revealed this as several South Korean cities said they would suspend administrative exchanges with Japan including its officials’ visits to the neighbouring country until the bilateral relationship improved.
Among the schemes suspended was the signing of an accord on goodwill exchanges between Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, and Nagasaki Prefecture.
Busan, connected to Fukuoka city in southwestern Japan by high-speed boats, is known for its active exchanges with Japan.
Its mayor, Oh Keo Don, last Tuesday criticised Japan’s tightening of export controls and indicated the city would consider whether to continue its exchange programmes with Japan.
Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga on Monday expressed regret over Busan’s suspension.
“Although ties between Japanese and South Korean governments are in a tough situation, municipal and people-to-people exchanges should continue as the basis of mutual understanding,” said the top Japanese government spokesman.
The East Asian neighbours have been at loggerheads over compensation for wartime labour during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.
Last month, Japan tightened controls of exports of hi-tech materials to South Korea, in apparent retaliation for a South Korean court ruling over wartime forced labour.
Such disputes have prompted a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services, from beer to clothes and travel in South Korea.
A student visit to Ogaki in Gifu Prefecture by some 20 students from Changwon, South Korea, was also postponed “due to the difficult relationship between Japan and South Korea”, according to the central Japan city.
The students were expected to play football and stay at private lodgings during the four-day trip from Sunday under the exchange programme that began in 1996. But an athletic association of Changwon requested its counterpart in Ogaki last Friday to postpone the visit.
Adding to the export curbs, Japan is preparing for Cabinet approval as early as August 2 to 
remove South Korea from a so-called white list status  with minimum trade restrictions, Japanese media have reported.
Seoul has protested against the plan, saying it would undermine their decades-old economic and security cooperation and threaten free trade.
Japanese daily Sankei on Monday reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was unlikely to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the United Nations general assembly in September, the latest sign of frosty relations between the key US allies.
Abe will not hold talks with Moon unless Seoul takes constructive steps over forced labour and other issues, the paper said.
Abe will also forgo meeting Moon during other opportunities, including an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meeting in October and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) gathering in November for the same reason, the Sankei said.

Additional reporting by Associated Press
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Korean Air mulls reducing flights to Japan as cities downgrade relations

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