Bolton underscores efforts by U.S., Japan, South Korea in Seoul visit

White House national security advisor John Bolton stressed the importance of trilateral cooperation among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington during meetings with top South Korean officials on Wednesday.

White House national security adviser John Bolton (L) listens to South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) during their meeting at the foreign ministry building in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. Photo by Kim Hee-chul

Bolton, who arrived in South Korea on Tuesday, met with his Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong, as well as with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa and Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, Money Today reported.

Bolton discussed the tensions between South Korea and Japan, Russian trespassing in the Korean air defense zone, North Korea denuclearization, U.S.-South Korea cooperation in the Strait of Hormuz and military cost-sharing on the Korean Peninsula, according to the report.

South Korea’s presidential Blue House told reporters afterward the two sides “reaffirmed the U.S.-South Korea alliance is a mutually beneficial and comprehensive alliance that is at the core of peace and stability in the region beyond the Korean Peninsula.”


Seoul also said the “South Korea-Japan conflict” due to “Japan’s economic retaliation” were discussed in the context of strengthening the alliance.

Chung and Bolton discussed Russian intrusion into South Korea’s air defense zone; Bolton said the two countries should be in close consultation during similar incidents, according to Money Today.

South Korea agreed to continue discussions on cooperating with the United States in the Strait of Hormuz, a commercial shipping channel.


On Tuesday, Japan had said it has no plan to deploy its self-defense force to the Middle East; U.S. President Donald Trump has previously said oil importers like Japan and China should defend their own ships in the Strait of Hormuz, rather than relying on U.S. military power to guard against attacks.

Bolton also met with a lawmaker of the main opposition conservatives in Seoul.

Na Kyung-won, a veteran lawmaker with the Liberty Korea Party, met with Bolton for 30 minutes, Yonhap reported Wednesday.


Na said she and Bolton are “on the same page” regarding national security.

Na and the Liberty Korea Party have been critical of President Moon Jae-in’s pro-engagement policy with North Korea.

ByElizabeth Shim