Park’s visit was originally scheduled for mid-June 2015 but was postponed due to South Korea’s public health crisis stemming from the the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus.
At a friendship dinner on Wednesday evening, Park stressed that South Korea is a reliable partner of the United States, calling the alliance a core of Washington’s rebalancing strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region.
“We really don’t have much time in terms of dealing with this issue and making sure that we can bring closure to their pent-up agony”, Park said, according to the English translation of her remarks.
US officials are keen to revamp and modernize the American military footprint in South Korea by using the nation to host a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antiballistic missile system.
In short, Park is looking to carefully shore up relations with both powers, given her country’s military dependence on the USA and economic ties with China.
South Korea has called on North Korea to emulate Vietnam and Myanmar, which opted for reform and openness.
The United States is keen to encourage better relations between South Korea and Japan, its two biggest allies in Asia, given concerns about North Korea and an increasingly assertive China.
While Washington and Seoul have had a bilateral free trade agreement in effect since 2012, South Korea is not among the 11 nations included in the Obama administration’s highly touted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact.
During a joint news conference on Friday, Obama and Park addressed possible diplomatic approaches to North Korea.
Obama says Iran has been prepared to have a “serious conversation” about the possibility of giving up the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
White House spokesman JoshEarnest said ” there obviously will be an ongoing discussion about the threat that is posed by North Korea and their ongoing refusal to abide by global standards when it comes to their nuclear program, and their tendency to engage in provocative acts”.
However, she said in language certain to infuriate North Korea: “There is a saying: You can take a horse to the trough, but you can’t make it drink water”.
“I want to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the defense and security of the Republic of Korea will never waver”, President Obama said at a joint press conference at the White House on Friday.
His comments came during a South Korea visit that was created to underscore close ties as South Korea also deepens relations with China. “We want them to be cooperating with us in putting pressure on the DPRK”, Obama noted.
Speaking on a go to to Washington, Park additionally stated she was open to a bilateral assembly with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however burdened the significance of progress on the difficulty of consolation ladies pressured to work in Japan’s wartime army brothels. But last month, Park caused handwringing in Washington when she attended a Chinese military parade marking the end of World War II that was snubbed by leaders of most major democracies.
South Korea Reaffirm Alliance Amid China Slowdown, North Korea Nuclear Threats