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The Center Cannot Hold…


Japan and South Korea are starting to grump at each other in consequential ways…

One of the world’s most important trade relationships may have hit the rocks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Japan has imposed export controls on the transfer of certain technologies to South Korea. Japan is ending preferential treatment, which essentially grants blanket permission for exports, and is requiring exporters to get specific approval for the transfer of certain goods. Targeted technologies include fluorinated polyimide, used in smartphone displays, and photoresist as well as high-purity hydrogen fluoride, used in semi-conductor production. Firms will now need to apply for permission to transfer these technologies, a process that could take some 90 days.

This sort of thing will become more common as the United States recedes from the conduct of basic alliance maintenance. It’s also worth noting that the Japanese are, in Henry Farrell’s terms, “weaponizing interdependence” in their spat with the South Koreans.

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