Park arrives in US for talks with Obama on alliance, North Korea

October 13, 2015
President Park Geun-hye (L) is greeted by U.S. chief of protocol Peter Selfridge after arriving at Andrews Air Base in Washington on Oct. 13, 2015, to hold summit talks with U.S. President Barack Obama. During the talks on Oct. 16, Park and Obama are expected to discuss ways on how to further boost their countries' bilateral alliance and deal with North Korea's possible provocations. (Yonhap)

President Park Geun-hye (L) is greeted by U.S. chief of protocol Peter Selfridge after arriving at Andrews Air Base in Washington on Oct. 13, 2015, to hold summit talks with U.S. President Barack Obama. During the talks on Oct. 16, Park and Obama are expected to discuss ways on how to further boost their countries’ bilateral alliance and deal with North Korea’s possible provocations. (Yonhap)

By Kim Kwang-tae

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) — President Park Geun-hye arrived in Washington on Tuesday for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama on how to further boost their countries’ bilateral alliance and deal with North Korea’s possible provocations.

Park is set to hold summit talks with Obama on Friday — the fourth such meeting since she took office in February 2013.

At the same time, there has been lingering speculation that North Korea may launch a long-range rocket in the coming months to put what it claims is a satellite into orbit.

Seoul and Washington view a satellite launch as a cover for testing the North’s ballistic missile technology, which is banned under U.N. resolutions.

Park and Obama are expected to discuss how to respond to North Korea’s provocations and to resume the long-stalled talks on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

The talks, which involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan, were last held in December 2008.

The North has repeatedly pledged to develop its economy and nuclear arsenal in tandem, viewing its nuclear program as a powerful deterrent against what it claims is Washington’s hostile policy against it.

Park and Obama are also expected to discuss ways to further boost their countries’ alliance. South Korea is a key U.S. ally. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as a deterrence against North Korea.

The meeting will be the latest in a series of summits between regional leaders.

Last month, Park met with her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing, followed by a summit between Obama and Xi in Washington.

South Korea, China and Japan are also scheduled to hold trilateral summit talks at the end of the month or the start of next month.

A trilateral summit has not been held since May 2012 due to tensions mainly over Japan’s attempts to whitewash its wartime atrocities and colonial occupation. Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910-45 and controlled much of China in the early part of the 20th century.

Separately, more than 160 South Korean business leaders plan to accompany Park to try to explore business opportunities with their U.S. counterparts.

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