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(LEAD) U.S. security adviser Bolton to meet top S. Korean officials this week: Cheong Wa Dae

16:02 July 21, 2019

(ATTN: MODIFIES lead; UPDATES with details from 7th para; ADDS photo, byline)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton will make a two-day visit to Seoul this week for consultations with top government officials, Cheong Wa Dae announced Sunday amid trade tension between South Korea and Japan.

Chung Eui-yong, chief of the presidential national security office, plans to hold talks with Bolton on Wednesday.

To be discussed are "pending major issues" between the two nations, including ways to establish a permanent peace regime through complete denuclearization, as well as strengthening their alliance, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, Ko Min-jung.

She added Bolton is due to arrive in Seoul on Tuesday.

He will also have meetings with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, Ko said.

This file photo, taken April 11, 2019, shows U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton (L) talking with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, at Blair House in Washington D.C. (Yonhap)

The U.S. government earlier said Bolton had left for Japan and South Korea.

His trip to Northeast Asia comes as the U.S. is seeking to resume working-level talks with North Korea as agreed by their leaders -- Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un -- during their spontaneous meeting at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at the end of last month.

At that time, U.S. officials said Washington and Pyongyang would form teams for a session expected to take place "in a few weeks." But there has been no news about a date or venue for the nuclear talks.

Also drawing keen attention is whether Bolton will have discussions with South Korean and Japanese officials on the trade rift between the neighboring countries.

Japan has placed export restrictions on the export to South Korea of key materials crucial for the production of semiconductors and displays in an apparent reprisal for South Korean court decisions over wartime forced labor.

It's also moving to remove Seoul from a "whitelist" of importers eligible for preferential treatment in customs procedures.

Trump has told reporters that South Korean President Moon Jae-in has asked him if he "could get involved" to help resolve the row.

He said he likes both Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"So if they need me, I'm there. Hopefully they can work it out," Trump said. "Maybe if they would both want me to, I'll be. It's like a full-time job getting involved between Japan and South Korea."

Cheong Wa Dae said Moon asked Trump to "pay attention" to a row between the two top U.S. allies in Asia, when they had a summit in Seoul on June 30, with Japanese media continuously carrying reports on the possibility of "economic retaliation."

Moon made the remark "as part of diplomatic efforts for a resolution to the conflict," Ko said.

lcd@yna.co.kr
(END)

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