The trade dispute stems from Japan's decision in early July to curb exports of sensitive materials to South Korea in what Seoul views as retaliation for South Korean court rulings on compensation for Japan's wartime forced labor. On the other hand, Lee urged Japan to understand that the South Korean government should not intervene in judicial decisions according to the principle of powers separation.
SEOUL-South Korea called on Japan to enter into talks to improve plummeting bilateral ties, even as it hinted at plans to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Tokyo's "unacceptable economic retaliatory measures".
"As a security organisation, we wanted to hear about North Korea's denuclearization and the issues of the alliance from him, but we found the timing did not quite fit because all the attention is focused on the GSOMIA issue", a group representative told Reuters.
"When you look at the ledger, we share more interests and values and things in common than we do not", he said.
Speaking next to him, General Joseph Dunford, head of the USA military, said he has not yet seen an impact on military operations but also voiced concern.
They are said to have reaffirmed that Japan, South Korea and the United States will closely cooperate over issues related to North Korea.
On Tuesday, a senior U.S. State Department official said that the United States was looking for a reduction in tensions between South Korea and Japan.
Also Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry demanded that Japan roll back its export controls on South Korea, with a spokesman saying in a statement that Tokyo's refusal to engage in talks with Seoul over the controls would not help solve the bilateral row.
Speaking to journalists in Washington D.C., the official said that the leaders of both countries - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in - had made "unhelpful" moves in the dispute.
"Prime Minister Abe commented twice that Korea can not be trusted and is treating us like an adversary", said Kim Hyun-chong, a national security official at the Blue House. But the measures are widely seen as retaliation for top South Korean court rulings previous year that ordered some Japanese companies to compensate Koreans over wartime forced labor.
"The United States has repeatedly made clear to the Moon administration that this decision would have a negative effect, not only in the bilateral relationship with Japan, but on USA security interests and those of other friends and allies", he said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Two of the Japanese chemicals targeted, hydrogen fluoride gas and photoresists, are essential to making memory chips, while the third chemical, fluorinated polyimide, is used for high-spec TV screens and smartphone displays, including hotly anticipated folding models from Samsung.