President Obama landed in South Korea just after dawn local time on Sunday for a nuclear security summit there.
The US leader will spend 3 days in South Korea with more than 50 other world leaders discussing how to prevent nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands.
North Korea’s planned long-range missile launch and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power are high on the agenda, The Associated Press reported.
Obama will first visit the Demilitarized Zone on the North Korean border.
Presidents who visit the DMZ is developing into a tradition; Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have all inspected the area where roughly 28,000 American troops serve alongside those from South Korea.
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It’s especially poignant now because of the North’s announcement it intends to launch a satellite attached to a long-range missile within the next 3 weeks, The New York Times reported.
North Korea says the launch serves scientific purposes and honors the 100th birthday of its now-deceased founder, Kim Il-sung; South Korea sees it as sabre rattling.
Obama’s arrival also comes near the 2nd anniversary of the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan. Nearly 50 sailors died when the ship broke apart and sank.
An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo, although leaders there deny involvement.
National Security Council director Daniel R. Russel said Obama’s presence is a show of strength for South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak.
“That incident and the cooperation between the US and the ROK (South Korea) that followed is a special example of the solidarity and the cooperation between two treaty allies,” Russel told The Times.
Obama is also planning to meet with world leaders to discuss violence in Syria and the US mission in Afghanistan.
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