South Korea rejects Japan media reports on transfer of material to North Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea on Tuesday denied accusations in Japanese media that it had transported Japanese high-tech material to North Korea, calling for an immediate halt to such comments.

Japan should “stop making groundless claims immediately,” South Korean Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo told a news briefing.

He was responding to reports that South Korea was suspected of shipping Japan’s hydrogen fluoride, a chemical covered by Tokyo’s recent export curbs, to the North.

The neighbors are embroiled in a diplomatic row over wartime forced labor that threatens to disrupt the global supply of memory chips and smartphones.

Tokyo said last week it would tighten restrictions on exports of three materials used in smartphone displays and chips, citing the dispute with Seoul.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Ju-min Park; Editing by Clarence Fernandez