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Bolton holds talks with S. Korean officials on denuclearization

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, left, talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha during a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, on July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool)

SEOUL (Kyodo) -- Visiting U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton met with South Korean officials in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss North Korea's denuclearization and other national security issues.

In a morning meeting at the Defense Ministry, Bolton and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo discussed close cooperation between the two allies to bring peace and complete denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula, according to the ministry.

"In addition, the two sides were also on the same page that South Korea-Japan security cooperation should be maintained," the ministry said in a statement.

In a later meeting with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong, director of the National Security Office, Bolton talked about the denuclearization process as well as strengthening the South Korea-U.S. alliance, according to the South Korean presidential office.

Chung explained to Bolton Seoul's response to Chinese and Russian aircraft that Seoul claims violated South Korea's airspace on Tuesday.

Later in the day, Bolton and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also had talks on wide range of issues including mounting tensions in the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States is asking allies to contribute personnel, naval vessels and funds for patrols in the Strait of Hormuz, the sea lane connecting the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman through which more than a fifth of the world's oil passes.

"I think your leadership trying to keep things stable in that region has been very much appreciated, and we're fully supportive of that as well," Kang said to Bolton at the outset of their talks.

Bolton arrived in Seoul on Tuesday from Japan for a two-day visit. In Tokyo, he held talks with Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Washington's bid to set up a coalition against Iran.

They also discussed tensions between Tokyo and Seoul amid a dispute over wartime labor and Japan's decision to impose restrictions on South Korea-bound tech exports.

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