Obama to renew strong commitment to defend S. Korea from North

U.S. President Barack Obama met with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun Hye on Tuesday and is expected to reaffirm strong U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea from the security threat posed by North Korea.

During their first meeting at the White House, Obama and Park are likely to emphasize the robust security alliance and close economic relations.

The two presidents are expected to hold a joint press conference following their meeting and a working lunch. International attention is on whether they will take a tough stance with North Korea amid sign of receding provocations from Pyongyang.

The U.S.-South Korea alliance is "stronger than it's ever been before" in the past 60 years, a senior Obama administration official said Monday, adding that Obama will use Park's visit to Washington "to reaffirm the strong commitment of the U.S. to the defense of the ROK." ROK is the acronym for the Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name.

The administration official told reporters in a conference call that it would be "premature to make a judgment about whether the North Korean provocation cycle is going up, down or zigzagging."

Park, the first female leader in North East Asia, is scheduled to deliver a speech before the U.S. Congress on Wednesday.