WASHINGTON (AFP) — The White House said Tuesday that President George W. Bush will visit South Korea in August, as pressure builds on his Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak to reverse a decision to accept imports of US beef.
Bush will visit Seoul on August 5 and 6, just prior to going to Beijing to attend the Summer Olympics, Dennis Wilder, the National Security Council’s director of Asian Affairs, announced.
Wilder said Bush’s planned meeting with Lee next week at the Group of Eight summit in Japan will be an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the August visit, as well as to discuss global and regional security issues and especially North Korea’s commitment to giving up its weapons-oriented nuclear programs.
In separate meetings planned for July 9 in Tokyo with Lee and Chinese President Hu Jintao, Wilder said, “the president will have the chance to coordinate US strategy in the six-party talks and explore the best ways to move the process of Korean denuclearization and peace forward.”
“President Bush and President Lee will discuss their commitment to gain their respective legislatures to ratify the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement,” Wilder added.
The announcement of Bush’s South Korea trip came as Korean protestors threatened to intensify their battle against importing US beef, which Lee has agreed to as a part of bilateral efforts to implement the 2007 free trade agreement.
[AFP, July 2, 2008]