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Obama to Give FTA High Priority During Seoul Visit

Posted October. 31, 2010 05:15,   


The free trade agreement between South Korea and the U.S. will be a priority for U.S. President Barack Obama when he visits Seoul Nov. 10-12, the White House said Thursday.

Obama will hold a summit with President Lee Myung-bak at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae on Nov. 11 on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. Jeffrey Bader, Obama’s senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council, told reporters at the White House that both sides will discuss bilateral issues such as the trade agreement and North Korea’s nuclear program.

By describing the trade pact as the main theme of Obama’s visit, the White House expressed his strong commitment to making progress at the forthcoming summit, experts said.

Bader said the Seoul G-20 summit signals South Korea’s full-fledged advance to the global stage and signifies a remarkable development in the country’s history. The hosting will be a watershed in President Lee’s pursuit of a “Global Korea,” Bader added.

Obama will visit the U.S. Army garrison at Seoul`s Yongsan district on Nov. 11, a day after U.S. Veterans Day, to encourage soldiers and stress the importance of the bilateral alliance.

Ben Rhodes, deputy U.S. national security adviser for strategic communications, said Obama will pay tribute to American soldiers who lost their lives in the Korean War and express his admiration for Korea’s "breathtaking" development over the 60 years since the end of the war.