U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Seoul Friday afternoon to hold a summit with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye to discuss the South Korea-U.S. alliance and tensions from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s nuclear program.
Obama’s first event was at the War Memorial of Korea where he laid a wreath in honor of American soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. He also toured the Gyeongbok Palace, the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1901).
The president’s core mission in Seoul is to underscore the U.S. commitment to the security of South Korea and other allies during a period of uncertainty in the region. The U.S. military continues to have a robust presence in South Korea, in part to serve as a deterrent to the North. During a news conference Friday with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Obama said: “The U.S. and South Korea stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of Pyongyang’s provocations and in our refusal to accept a nuclear North Korea.” He declared the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea “a linchpin of security in Asia.”
Obama also paid tribute to victims from last week’s ferry disaster. He expressed his condolences to those who lost loved ones in the incident. He said, “I’m a father of two daughters of the same age, or close to the same age, as who were lost. I can only imagine what the parents are going through at this moment.”
This news contains information from Associate Press and Xinhua.