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Notes About Pres. Obama’s Visit to Korea

Posted November. 20, 2009 08:47,   


U.S. President Barack Obama stayed at the presidential suite on the 20th floor of the Grand Hyatt Seoul.

Covering around 330 square meters and costing eight million won (6,984 U.S. dollars) per night, the suite has been used by Queen Elizabeth II, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, actor Tom Cruise, and socialite Paris Hilton.

A large number of Obama’s attendants also stayed at the hotel. “Out of 601 rooms, around 400 were occupied by Obama’s attendants,” a police source said.

A temporary office of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and a security system were installed at the hotel Tuesday. From Wednesday, all entrances excluding the central gate were blocked and every guest had to undergo inspection. A total of 13,000 security guards were also hired.

“Obama didn’t leave the hotel to work out or take a walk,” police said.

Around 7,000 members of conservative organizations including from the Korea Disabled Veterans Organization and the Association of Patriotic Organizations welcomed Obama at Gwanghwamun Plaza and Seoul Plaza in the capital. They also held placards saying, “Welcome, U.S. President Obama.”

As Cadillac One carrying President Obama passed through the plazas around 10:50 a.m., they waved the Korean and U.S. flags to welcome him. The placards included messages such as “Delay the Transfer of Wartime Operational Control,” “Scrap North Korea’s Nuclear Program,” and “Early Ratification of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.”

On the other hand, members of progressive organizations such as the Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea and the Korea Alliance for Progressive Movement held a news conference nearby the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae. They urged a North Korea-U.S. summit and a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula.

Experts say Obama’s fashion can be classified as traditional American and new frontier style. At the summit yesterday, he wore a black suit with a charcoal grey shade.

Fashion stylist Hwang Eui-geon said, “Obama’s suits can be interpreted as traditional American style that looks comfortable, not rigid or showy. He struck a balance in all fashion items he used.” Hwang said Obama’s jacket fit really well. As the British daily Independent recognized last year, he did not fasten the last button on his suit jacket.

Obama wore striped red neckties in his two-day visit. Red is generally considered a color used to make someone stand out more. Experts say Obama might have chosen toned-down red neckties instead of vivid red ties since he wanted neckties that go well with his dark skin color.

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