(ATTN: UPDATES with photo)
SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Thursday vowed to use Japan's export restrictions against the country as an "opportunity" to further nurture the parts and materials industries here.
"We will walk a different road from Japan," Moon said during a visit to SK hynix in Icheon, southeast of Seoul, "By turning the crisis into an opportunity, we will leap forward to become a powerful nation for the material, parts and equipments sectors."
In July last year, Japan announced it would regulate South Korea-bound exports of photoresist, etching gas and fluorinated polyimide that are critical for the chip and display industries, the backbone of Asia's No. 4 economy.
Moon said the country has successfully overcome the fallout from the trade spat, without a single production disruption, despite the trade restrictions that have continued for nearly a year.
He added that the experience has helped build a "can-do" spirit, saying this has also been a source of drive to fight the new coronavirus.
During the visit, Moon unveiled a plan to further nurture the key industries, including expanding management of core products and stepping up support for local and overseas companies, as well as cooperation with the international society, to stabilize the global supply net.
"Taking another step from the defensive approach that we have taken based on our accomplishments, we will now shift to a policy centering on advancement," he said, adding the country will become "a global factory for high-tech industries."
Regarding the infectious virus, Moon said the new coronavirus has "ironically proven that the world is closely connected," noting a stable global system that focuses on specialization and protecting a free trade system will become important values in the post-coronavirus age.
He said that South Korea has proven itself as "one of the world's safest markets for investment" based on its successful anti-virus fight and solid manufacturing industry and information technology infrastructure.
"We have realized the importance of an international system of specialization based on trust, while undergoing Japan's unfair trade restriction measures," Moon said. "Becoming a strong nation for the parts, materials and equipments industries and cooperating with the global society will be 'the Korean way' we will walk."