U.S. national security adviser Bolton travels to Japan, South Korea amid trade dispute

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(Reuters) – U.S. national security adviser John Bolton departed on Saturday on a trip to and South as the two countries are in the middle of a trade dispute.

A White House National Security Council spokesman said on Twitter that Bolton planned to “continue conversations with critical allies and friends.”

President Donald Trump offered on Friday to help ease tensions in the political and dispute between the ’ two biggest allies in , which threatens global supplies of memory chips and smartphones.

Lingering tension, particularly over the issue of compensation for South Koreans forced to work for Japanese occupiers during World War Two, worsened this month when Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to .

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Japan has denied that the dispute over compensation is behind the export curbs, even though one of its ministers cited broken trust with South Korea over the labor dispute in announcing the restrictions.

The export curbs could hurt global technology companies.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that President Moon Jae-in had asked him if he could get involved.

A spokeswoman for Moon confirmed Moon had asked Trump for help at their Seoul summit on June 30.

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