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Obama hosts South Korean President at White House

Amid tension in the Korean peninsula and South China Sea, US President Barack Obama will meet his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye at the White House.

Washington: Amid tension in the Korean peninsula and South China Sea, US President Barack Obama will meet his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye at the White House.

"Park`s visit will highlight the growth, breadth, depth and strength of our alliance, our increased global cooperation, the deep economic ties between the US and South Korea," the White House said on the eve of the crucial visit.

This is the first overseas trip of Park - the first woman President of South Korea - less than 10 weeks after she took over the office.

She arrived in the US yesterday. Besides meeting Obama at the Oval Office, having lunch together in the Cabinet room and addressing joint press conference, park is planning to visit Arlington Cemetery and the Korean War Memorial.

"The agenda includes the range of issues in a way that I think reflects the maturity and the scope of US-Korean relations now," Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs Daniel Russel told reporters during a conference call.

"Some of the issues at the very top of the agenda include our security and our alliance cooperation, the effort to modernise our alliance, North Korea, our economic relations and broader global cooperation," he said.

Noting that this is the 60th year of US-South Korean alliance, Russel said the alliance has grown in a way that really has made it a global partnership with cooperation across many fields.

"So we`re celebrating this anniversary both to mark the strength of the alliance but also to have the two presidents chart a course for the coming decades of cooperation," he said.

The two leaders are expected to issue a joint declaration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the US-South Korea alliance.

In addition to trade issues and bilateral and regional issues, he said the two leaders are expected to discuss Northeast Asian and Southeast Asian issues, exchange views on how to strengthen cooperation, how to reduce tensions, how to promote both stability and economic growth.

"We want to see our bilateral commercial and economic ties continue to grow. We`ve already seen very significant, very positive results from the KORUS Free Trade Agreement," he said.
"Without a doubt, the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) is a high priority for the US, and the decision about whether or not the Republic of Korea wants to join TPP rests with them. They would have to ask, and thus far they haven`t.

But certainly the takeaway from the success of the KORUS FTA on a bilateral basis is that free trade is good trade and that the Republic of Korea has a great deal to offer," Russel said.


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