News / Asia

    Trade, North Korea Among Topics in Obama, Lee Talks

    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak speaks during a lunch hosted in Washington by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,  Oct. 12, 2011
    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak speaks during a lunch hosted in Washington by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Oct. 12, 2011

    President Barack Obama welcomes South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the White House on Thursday.  The visit comes as the U.S. Congress moved to approve a long-delayed U.S. - South Korea free trade agreement, and as both countries face ongoing challenges with North Korea.

    From complex bilateral trade issues, to ongoing tensions with North Korea, the Obama-Lee relationship has endured major challenges during the past two years.

    The United States stood strongly by its key East Asian ally against belligerent behavior by North Korea after the sinking of a South Korean warship, denied by Pyongyang, and the shelling of a South Korean island in 2010.

    On trade, the two men weathered a difficult process of bilateral negotiations, and political obstacles. On the eve of Mr. Lee's visit, the U.S. Congress was on the verge of approving the U.S.-Korea free-trade deal with its benefits for increased trade and jobs.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

    "It comes at a time that is really a high point in the bilateral relationship and in our alliance with South Korea," said Carney. "And it marks an alliance that has matured over the last two years into a partnership, building peace and prosperity globally."

    National Security Council former director for Asian affairs, Victor Cha, who is now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says the two presidents have excellent personal chemistry.  More importantly, he says, President Lee has delivered on key aspects of Mr. Obama's global agenda.

    "South Korea really sort of stepped up, which is part of Lee’s agenda for Korea to be more of a global player at a time when the United States wanted to see allies like Korea stepping up," said Cha.

    Former senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council Michael Green agrees the visit reflects the importance Mr. Obama places on President Lee's leadership.

    "I think that this is a relationship based on respect and the fact that Lee Myung-bak can deliver, but nevertheless, that counts for a lot, and you can see it in the protocol that surrounds this visit," said Green.

    Thursday's pomp and circumstance will include a full White House ceremonial welcome, a joint news conference and state dinner.  President Lee will also address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.

    Former assistant U.S. trade representative Meredith Broadbent says President Lee's White House provided a final push for the White House and Congress to finally end a deadlock on the Korea trade pact.

    "The agreement between the U.S. and Korea is a win-win, state-of-the-art, sound commercial agreement that will put transparent rules in place, allow fairness and accountability for U.S. business in Korea, and get us back into the game of negotiating trade agreements, which our trading partners have been doing during these years that we have been more focused inward," said Broadbent.

    The two presidents will also discuss North Korea, and a possible new round of bilateral talks with Pyongyang after President Lee's visit to Washington.  Again, Victor Cha of the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

    "One of the main issues that the two leaders are going to want to talk about is how to contain this crisis and avoid more provocations by the DPRK [North Korea] even as they continue to put their nose to the grindstone and try to make more progress on the denuclearization aspect of the talks," he said.

    On Friday, President Lee is to accompany President Obama on a visit to a General Motors assembly plant near Detroit, Michigan.

    In promoting his job creation and innovation policies, President Obama has often used South Korea as an example of the kind of global economic competition the U.S. faces and the importance of a level playing field in trade.

    The White House says the visit to the auto plant will highlight the Korea trade deal and the potential it creates for American companies to sell more of their products in foreign markets.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora