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S. Korea to work closely with new U.S. national security advisor Bolton: official

All Headlines 11:11 March 23, 2018

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will work closely together with incoming U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, a senior presidential official said Friday, amid questions about what changes the hawkish official will bring to U.S. policy on Pyongyang.

John Bolton (AFP-Yonhap file photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump announced earlier that Bolton will be replacing H.R. McMaster as his national security advisor next month. Bolton, who served as undersecretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has long been considered one of the most hawkish U.S. officials on the North.

"While serving as undersecretary of state, Bolton gained a great deal of knowledge about Korean Peninsula issues, and most of all, he is an advisor trusted by President Trump. We will be working closely with him to resolve Korean Peninsula issues," the senior Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters.

The official dismissed concern about negative effects Bolton's appointment or the sacking of H.R. McMaster, who has coordinated closely with South Korea, would have on the upcoming inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summits, saying what's important is Trump's intentions.

"As it is President Trump who is leading (the situation ahead of) the U.S.-North Korea summit, what's important is President Trump's will," the official said, adding that Bolton is believed to have good chemistry with Trump.

"We will be cooperating closely with President Trump, the national security advisor and the secretary of state," the official said.

The official also said that Bolton's past record on the North is not important.

"What's important is not what intentions (Bolton) has as an individual, but how the entire U.S. government and President Trump will try to resolve this issue," the official said. "As national security advisor, (Bolton) has to have his views aligned with those of President Trump, and we will be providing sincere cooperation for that."

Asked if the U.S. has tipped South Korea in advance about Bolton's replacement of McMaster, the official said it is a personnel matter in which "we can neither get involved with nor make any comment about."

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