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1st Ladies Spend Time Together During Korea-US Summit

Posted June. 17, 2009 05:56,   


Korean First Lady Kim Yoon-ok and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama spent time together at the White House yesterday while their president husbands held a bilateral summit.

Mrs. Obama showed Kim every corner of the presidential mansion for 45 minutes, before which they joined their husbands for a lunch banquet in the White House.

The one-on-one meeting between the two first ladies was not scheduled, but shortly before President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Washington, the White House reportedly decided to give Kim a tour out of respect for the Korean first lady.

Creating an image of a “generous housewife” in the 2007 Korean presidential election while visiting traditional markets, Kim as first lady has visited military barracks and childcare centers to earn the additional nickname “kind mother.”

Mrs. Obama helped her husband in last year’s U.S. election campaign, including giving a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. Since Barack Obama’s inauguration, however, she has put more emphasis on presenting an image of unity and harmony.

The two ladies cherish a normal household. Kim spends her weekends with her children and grandchildren at the Korean presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae. Mrs. Obama is also said to never sacrifice daily family activities despite a host of official events and restrictions from security fears. Mrs. Obama reportedly tries to spend time outside the White House by dining out, taking the family dog for a walk, and seeing cultural performances.

The two also play the role of adviser to their husbands.

Prior to her visit to the White House, Kim went to Little Lights, a community service organization in Washington. Established by a Korean-American couple in 1995, the organization provides education to teenagers from low-income households.

Kim played table soccer with children and talked with the organization’s staff.