Posted November. 06, 2009 08:43,
A gentleman wearing in a dark blue suit and sunglasses yesterday held out a pile of documents to a clerk at the Korean Embassy in Washington.
A U.S. government delegation will begin a trip to four Asian nations from Nov. 12, including Korea and Singapore, the venue for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
The documents were visa applications to visit Korea. At the invitation of President Lee Myung-bak, the delegation will visit Korea for two days from Nov. 18. Passport handed in along with around 200 visa applications were attached with yellow-colored Post-it notes on which serial numbers were written.
The passport with a Post-it note marked 1 belonged to U.S. President Barack Obama.
Obama reportedly signed his two-page Korean visa application personally. The passport contains his full name Barack Hussein Obama, a name that had stirred controversy over his candidacy. Application forms for entry to Korea require applicants to fill in their workplace, office phone, name of spouse, and purpose of visit.
Those applying for Korean visas include White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; National Security Advisor James Jones; Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell; and Jeffrey Bader, senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council.
Obama and his security guards, who will ride in the U.S. presidential plane Air Force One, also applied for visas.
Obama applied for an A2 visa, which allows foreign officials to stay in Korea for up to 18 days. Generally, around three to four days are needed to process an A2, whose holders can leave and reenter Korea several times over the given period.
The Korean Embassy plans to finish all required processes in a day and issue the visa Thursday. U.S. officials do not require visa interviews when they visit Korea. The U.S. State Department also sent a letter to the embassy asking to issue the visas as soon as possible.
Obama also applied for entry visas to China and Japan. While visiting Asia, he will stay for two days in Korea and Japan each, three days in Singapore, and four days in China.