Obama Arrives in South Korea for Nuclear Summit
VOA News March 24, 2012
U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in South Korea for the Nuclear Security Summit which starts Monday.
Mr. Obama joins more than 50 world leaders for the high profile summit in South Korea's capital, Seoul. The meeting comes as North Korea threatens to stop the progress made toward nuclear disarmament, with plans to launch a long-range rocket next month.
The United States said last week the rocket launch would cancel an earlier agreement with North Korea for food aid in exchange for halting its nuclear and long-range missile programs.
The White House says Mr. Obama will hold various bilateral meetings, including talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Mr. Obama also plans to meet with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Russia, South Korea and Turkey on the sidelines of the summit.
A White House statement Friday said President Obama will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to review efforts to support an Afghan-led reconciliation process with the Taliban.
Mr. Obama plans to visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea within hours of landing near Seoul early Sunday.
In a conference call with reporters earlier this week, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the main points of the DMZ visit are to show support for the more than 28,000 U.S. troops serving in Korea and to stress the U.S. security alliance with South Korea.
Rhodes said the president's message to North Korea is the same as it has been throughout his administration, that by meeting its obligations and denuclearizing, Pyongyang can follow a clear path to better relations with the international community.
The DMZ is considered one of the most dangerous places on earth, with heavily-armed North and South Korean forces aligned against one another. The two have remained in a formal state of war since an armistice ended combat in the Korean War in 1953.
Some information for this report provided by AP.
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