President Park slated to hold talks with Obama

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President Park slated to hold talks with Obama


President Park Geun-hye will hold a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama next week in either Myanmar or Australia, both nations she is set to visit as part of an eight-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region, the Blue House said yesterday.

Korea and the United States expressed the need for talks, and a detailed schedule is pending, sources at the presidential office said.

“Obama’s schedule is the key factor in deciding the date,” said one source who requested anonymity.

The topics expected on the discussion table include negotiations over the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Act between Korea and the United States, which allows the two countries to continue work on joint nuclear projects.

The bill is set to expire in 2016 and is a follow-up measure to the agreement on the delay of Korea’s take-over of wartime control of allied forces and cooperative measures on North Korea.

President Park will depart for Beijing, the first destination on her itinerary, on Nov. 9 and is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

She will spend four days in the Chinese capital.

This will be the fifth time the two have met since they were inaugurated.

They are expected to reach a consensus on finalizing free trade negotiations by the end of the year, as well as Korea’s stance on its participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which the Chinese government will establish next year, said Ju Chul-ki, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security.

China has been consistently seeking support from a number of Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern nations, including Korea.

Korea is still considering taking part in the international banking institution, which is expected to propel China into a financial powerhouse, further threatening the United States.

Obama and Xi are expected to meet on Nov. 12 in Beijing.

President Park will subsequently join the Asean+3 meeting and the East Asia Summit, which is set to take place from Nov. 12 to 13 in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital.

She will then spend Nov. 14 to 16 in Brisbane, Australia, for the G-20 summit and return home on Nov. 17.

Her meeting with Obama is set to be held in one of the two cities.

For Korea to hold triangular summits with the United States and China is a rarity and draws attention to the potential of the three countries to agree upon a unified stance on North Korea, which has been hot and cold lately in its dealings with the South.

However, the long-anticipated meeting between Park and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to be a long way off given the circumstances.

Talks between President Park and Japanese lawmakers on Oct. 24 in Seoul raised expectations for a possible summit between the two, yet the occasion only confirmed that the Korean president will abide by her previous demand that long-standing historical issues be resolved before a new relationship can be forged.

Abe again expressed his enthusiasm to hold talks with Park on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Beijing or the G-20 summit when he met with National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa on Oct. 28.

The Japanese premier is also seeking a meeting with President Xi at the APEC meeting.

China and Japan are embroiled in their own dispute over the control of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. They are known as the Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.


BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]


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