Top Security Advisers of S. Korea, US to Meet on Thursday

Kono's visit comes amid growing concerns in Japan that the diplomatic drive led by South Korea, North Korea and the United States could fail to meet its security concerns and interests as it is sidelined in the denuclearization talks.

Diplomatic sources said Kono is anxious that Japan could be left out of talks on the Korean Peninsula.

"The government believes that cooperation with the global community is very important in resolving the North's nuclear issue and developing inter-Korean relations", the minister said.

South Korea's national security adviser has flown to Washington to meet his newly appointed U.S. counterpart John Bolton, an official said on Thursday in Seoul, where concerns are growing over the American's hardline stance on the nuclear-armed North. Chung Eui-yong, who personally delivered Kim's summit offer to Trump last month, returned to the USA capital unannounced on Wednesday as the two allies plan their upcoming summits with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Kono arrived in South Korea late on Tuesday, on his first visit to the country since becoming foreign minister in August past year.

But the top diplomats remained divided on two thorny historical issues still unresolved.

Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed when Cheonan was sunken eight years ago.

The relationship between Seoul and Tokyo turned sour when the new South Korean administration began demanding an official apology from the Japanese government for Japan's World War II atrocities against its Asian neighbors, such as its sexual slavery of thousands of Korean women.

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The spokesman said the foreign ministry was doing its necessary part in tandem with government posture.

Moon said last month that Japan cannot unilaterally declare the wartime issue "over", while Japan says any attempt to modify or scrap the deal, signed by Moon's predecessor Park Geun-Hye, could hurt relations.

He was referring to Japanese citizens abducted by the North's agents in the 1970s and 80s in a bid to train spies in Japanese language and customs before overseas missions.

Kono's trip marked the first of its kind by a Japanese foreign minister since December 2015. She pointed out Pyongyang's pledge to not take provocative action as long as dialogue was continuing and said, "it will be important to maintain the momentum for dialogue when dealing with the denuclearization issue".

South Korea's national security adviser has flown to Washington to meet his newly appointed United States counterpart John Bolton, an official said on Thursday (Apr 12) in Seoul, where concerns are growing over the American's hardline stance on the nuclear-armed North.

Song Tao, the head of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee's global department, will lead the mission.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the joint declaration on Korea-Japan partnership in October 1998 issued by then-Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to build a future-oriented relationship.

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