Park and Obama to meet June 16, Blue House says

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Park and Obama to meet June 16, Blue House says

President Park Geun-hye will visit the United States on June 14 for talks with her American counterpart Barack Obama, the Korean and U.S. presidential offices said on Wednesday.

According to the Blue House, Park’s trip to Washington will run from June 14 to 17 at Obama’s invitation. The two leaders are scheduled to sit down for a presidential summit on June 16 at the White House.

From June 17 to 18, Park will visit Houston, Texas, before returning to Korea on June 19.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, also issued a statement to announce her visit.

“President Park’s visit, her second to Washington since taking office, will underscore the strength and breadth of the U.S.-Republic of Korea partnership and demonstrate the close personal ties between the U.S. and Korean people,” it read.

According to both presidential offices, Park and Obama will exchange views on a wide range of security, economic and global issues. The Korea-U.S. military alliance and its role in assuring regional stability and security will be addressed at the summit, officials said.

The two leaders will also address the security situation on the Korean Peninsula amid increasing threats from North Korea as well as a plan to expand cooperation in new areas, including the environment, health and cybersecurity. Both countries have been targets of North Korean-led cyber-attacks in the recent years.

The summit takes place at a sensitive time for regional security.

Earlier this month, North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile - a nightmare not only for its Asian neighbors, but also for the United States.

It also comes amid regional controversy surrounding the possibility that South Korea may deploy the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system, an American-built anti-ballistic missile defense shield.

China and Russia have publicly protested its implementation.

Park and Obama’s meeting follows steps by Tokyo and Washington toward a renewed relationship. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Washington last month.

Since then, foreign affairs officials for the Park administration have had to deflect criticism that Seoul is being left out of the cooperative regional framework pushed by the United States. Analysts have speculated that Obama will recommend that Park work to improve strained ties between Korea and Japan, possibly through a summit with Abe.

According to the Blue House, when U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice announced the 2015 National Security Strategy in February, the United States had already announced its intention to invite the leaders of South Korea, China, Japan and Indonesia to Washington as part of its campaign to boost ties in Asia.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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