Park meets with McCain, 2 other U.S. lawmakers

SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Monday and discussed relations between the two countries and situations on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, her office said.

McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, arrived in South Korea on Sunday for a two-day visit as part of a regional trip that also included stops in Japan and China. Traveling together with him was Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

During Monday's meeting, Park expressed gratitude to McCain for backing Seoul's position on North Korea-related issues, and asked the two senators to help strengthen the alliance between the two countries, according to presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing.

McCain told Park that her speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress in May was highly meaningful in that she is the first democratically elected female leader in Northeast Asia. He promised to render close cooperation to move the alliance between the two countries forward, according to Kim.

Park also met earlier with U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY).

Calling the Korean War veteran an eternal friend of South Korea, Park said the country won't forget the sacrifices Rangel and other veterans made during the 1950-53 conflict, adding that her government designated July 27 as U.N. Forces Participation Day to mark the end of the war.

Rangel said he takes great pride in South Korea rebuilding itself from the ashes of the war and transforming into a democracy and an economic power, promising to continue efforts to further strengthen the alliance between the two countries, according to Kim.

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