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Japan-South Korea rift

US official calls actions by Japan and South Korea 'unhelpful'

Washington hopes two can rebuild ties after hitting 'rock bottom'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The United States hopes a damaging row between the leaders of U.S. allies South Korea and Japan has hit rock bottom but believes recent military exercises by Seoul have not helped, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday.

Briefing reporters in Washington, the official said that both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in had made "unhelpful" choices in the dispute, which has taken relations between Seoul and Tokyo to their lowest ebb in decades, and hurt U.S. security interests.

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