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S.Korea's Moon urges Japan to contemplate past, calls for dialog

SEOUL, Aug 15 (Reuters) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that Japan should look back upon its imperialist past but Seoul will "gladly join hands" if Tokyo chooses dialog, as the two nations deal with an escalating trade row.

In his Liberation Day speech marking Korea's independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule, Moon warned the global free trade order may suffer if a country "weaponises" a sector where it has an upper edge.

Japan has imposed curbs on exports of some high-tech materials to South Korea. Seoul sees the measure as retaliation over a feud over the issue of wartime forced labor, while Japan cited unspecified security reasons.

"We hope that Japan will play a leading role together in facilitating peace and prosperity in East Asia while it contemplates a past that brought misfortune to its neighboring countries," Moon said. (Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Michael Perry)