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Seoul working on visit by Bolton

Seoul and Washington are working on a possible visit to South Korea by US national security adviser John Bolton, a local news outlet reported Thursday.

“South Korean and US authorities are consulting over Bolton’s visit to Korea,” Yonhap News Agency quoted an anonymous official with Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying. 

US National Security Adviser John Bolton. Yonhap
US National Security Adviser John Bolton. Yonhap

According to the report, Bolton’s Seoul visit is being arranged on the occasion of his trip to Japan.

Japanese media earlier reported that Bolton is set to visit Japan sometime next week. Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, however, declined to confirm the report at a regular press briefing.

If Bolton does make a stop in Seoul, it would be his first visit to South Korea not as part of US President Donald Trump’s retinue since taking office as the national security adviser.

The report has raised speculations that Bolton could discuss issues surrounding Japan’s steps to curb exports of key industrial materials to South Korea.

South Korea has discussed the matter with the US, and has taken the issue to the World Trade Organization. David Stilwell, the new assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, visiting Seoul, commented that the US would do “what it can” to help resolve the matter.

Stilwell met with top South Korean officials including deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-chong and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha on Wednesday.

Local media also raised speculations that Bolton may request Seoul participate in the US-led drive to form a military coalition in the Straits of Hormuz off Iran.

By Choi He-suk (