On his way back to Korea from the U.S. on Saturday, Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Hyun-chong said U.S. officials are concerned that trade tensions between Seoul and Tokyo are not helpful to cooperation between the three countries.
Kim was speaking to reporters at Washington Dulles International Airport after meeting with American officials including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to explain the Korean government's stance on Japan's recent curb on exports to Korea.
"I cannot reveal exactly what the U.S. said, but they strongly sympathize with us."
Kim explained that the people he met with see the trade tensions between Seoul and Tokyo as concerning at a time when there's a need for the three sides to work together on various issues.
He emphasized that this is why the U.S. State Department spokesperson said earlier that the department will do (quote) "everything" it can to strengthen America's ties with South Korea and Japan and between the two countries themselves.
During his trip, Kim said he spoke with the U.S. administration, Congress and think tanks, and told them that Japan's recent export restrictions are unfair.
He also explained to officials how the measures could impact the security situation among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan.
Still, he said, U.S. officials have not talked explicitly about "mediation."
Meanwhile, on the tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Kim said he did not receive any request to send troops to the Strait of Hormuz.
The U.S. has been asking its allies to join a military coalition to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait.
Ko Roon-hee, Arirang News.