South Korea's new President Park Geun-hye meets in Washington Tuesday with U.S. President Barack Obama, for talks likely to be dominated by concerns over North Korea.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the United States is working very closely with Seoul on what he called the "challenge presented by the behavior" of North Korea. He says the two leaders will also discuss economic ties and called the relationship between the United States and South Korea "enormously important."

"Obviously, as we've said both in our visits to the Republic of Korea and in visits by Korean leaders here, this is an enormously important relationship on a -- on a, you know, security level, as well as economic and cultural."

Ms. Park began her five-day visit to the United States at the United Nations on Monday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the South Korean president for what he called her "firm, but measured" response to provocations by North Korea.

The U.N. leader said he is ready to contribute to defusing tension and promoting peace on the Korean peninsula, following recent threats from the North to attack both South Korea and the United States.

The South Korean leader is also scheduled to address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday.

President Park, who is heading a delegation of more than 50 South Korean business leaders, will stop in Los Angeles Thursday to meet with Korean entrepreneurs.