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Lee-Obama Talks to Focus on NK Nukes, FTA

Posted November. 19, 2009 09:30,   


President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama will hold a summit today in Seoul on North Korea’s nuclear threat and ratification of the bilateral free trade agreement.

The Korean presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae yesterday said both leaders will hold an intense discussion over President Lee’s “grand bargain” proposal, or a one-step agreement to deal with Pyongyang, at the summit.

They will also discuss how to advance ratification of the free trade deal, which has stalled since it was signed in September 2007. President Lee will urge both sides to ratify and implement the accord soon given that two years has passed since the singing of the agreement.

The two leaders will also speak on cooperation to combat climate change and South Korea’s hosting of next year’s Group of 20 summit. Not to be discussed, however, will be Seoul’s dispatch of forces to Afghanistan and retaking of wartime operational control from Washington in April 2012.

Presidents Lee and Obama will hold a joint news conference after the summit instead of releasing a joint statement.

The two leaders had their first summit on the sidelines of the G20 summit in London in April, followed by one in Washington in June.

After visiting China for four days, Obama arrived at the U.S. Air Force base in Osan, south of Seoul, around 7:40 p.m. yesterday. Over his two-day visit to South Korea, Obama will hold talks and a luncheon with President Lee today.

Obama will head home after speaking to U.S. forces stationed in South Korea.