Obama to host South Korean leader

South Korean leader Park to visit Washington in October

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, pose for a photo during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul Friday, April 25, 2014.

The White House announced on Wednesday President Obama will host his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye on Oct. 16 as tensions rise with North Korea.

"President Park's visit, her second to Washington since taking office, will underscore the strength and breadth of the US-Republic of Korea partnership," the White House said in a statement.

The meeting in Washington was initially scheduled to be held in June but Park postponed the visit due to an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in her country.

According to the White House, Obama and his counterpart will "chart the expansion of our cooperation into new areas that will increasingly shape the relationship in the 21st century, such as environment, energy, space, health, and cybersecurity."

Also on the agenda, it said: "The current security situation on the Korean Peninsula in the face of the continued threat from North Korea."

The US and South Korea have been concerned about the nuclear activities of North Korea.

Last week two South Korean soldiers who were part of a team conducting a routine search operation inside the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near the town of Paju, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Seoul, were seriously wounded by a landmine blast, which South Korea blamed on its northern rival.

On Aug. 6, South Korea's military threatened retaliation against North Korea, accusing the North of planting land mines inside the DMZ which wounded two soldiers last week and calling this a cowardly act of provocation.

The United Nations Command in South Korea, which oversees the armistice and is headed by the US military, also condemned what it called the North's violation of the truce.

On July 29, the North urged Seoul and its allies to halt the military drills near the peninsula describing them as  “provocative.”

A day after, South Korean Defence Ministry said that the joint military exercises with the United States only aims defensive purposes, rejecting North Korea’s call for suspension.

Seoul intended to spend about 8 billion dollars over five years in order to cope with the North Korea’s missile threats starting from 2016 onwards.


TRTWorld and agencies