Entries in Lee Myung-bak (6)


North Korea Threatens 'Special Action' Against South Korea

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- North Korea issued a warning to its southern neighbor on Monday, vowing to take "special action" against South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his followers.

In a breaking news broadcast, North Korea's state TV announced the attack will be carried out soon by its special operation action unit under military high command.  The broadcast said the attack "will be unprecedented," involve a "form of fire" and will take "three to four minutes" to complete.

The North Korean foreign ministry also threatened action against South Korea's government for insulting its leadership and announcing a new cruise missile capable of striking anywhere in the North.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama, South Korean President Warn North Korea Over Missile Launch

KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Despite threats from North Korea that any criticism of its nuclear weapons program would be considered “a declaration of war,” President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday presented a united front to warn North Korea’s leaders that if they go forward with plans for a long-range missile test next month, their people will ultimately be the ones who suffer.

Discussing a package of promised nutritional aid for the malnourished and impoverished North Korean people, Obama said his administration had indicated to the leaders of North Korea “very directly” that “it would be difficult to move forward with that package if they show themselves unable to make commitments that they’ve made, even a month earlier.”

Lee said that he and Obama “agreed to respond sternly to any provocations and threats by the North and to continually enhance the firm South Korea-U.S. defense readiness.”

“North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or by provocations,” Obama said.  “North Korea knows its obligations and it must take irreversible steps to meet those obligations.”

The missile launch is scheduled to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and grandfather of the current leader of the country, Kim Jong Un.

Lee suggested that the missile launch would further alienate the people of North Korea from its leadership, saying that “from the perspective of the people of North Korea, they will understand that its leaders are spending hundreds of millions of dollars just to test launch a long-range missile and, watching their leader do so, they are not going to feel proud that their country was able to launch a long-range missile, rather they will get, truly understand the nature of their leaders and understand why they have to go through such hardships.”

Asked for his views of Kim Jong Un, Obama said, “It’s not clear exactly who is calling the shots and what their long-term objectives are.”

Obama said such a missile launch would not only violate the country’s own commitments and international obligations, “it would only deepen North Korea’s isolation, damage further its relations with its neighbors and serious undermine the prospects of future negotiations…They need to understand that bad behavior will not be rewarded.  There has been a pattern for decades, in which North Korea thought that if they acted provocatively then somehow they would be bribed into ceasing and desisting acting provocatively and President Lee and I have agreed from the start in our relationship that we’re going to break that pattern.”

Obama is scheduled to also meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday, and on Sunday, had a harsh assessment of China’s ability to influence North Korea.

“My suggestion to China is how they communicate their concerns to North Korea should probably reflect the fact that the approach they’ve taken over the last several decades hasn’t led to a fundamental shift in North Korea’s behavior,” Obama said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


South Korea on Alert After North Korea's Kim Jong Il Dies

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- South Korea's military has been put on alert following the announcement of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's death.

North Korea's state run news agency reported Monday that Kim died of heart failure while traveling by train on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. local time. He was 69 years old.

After word got out, the White House issued a statement saying it was in, "close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan," and that it was, "closely monitoring" reports of Kim's death.

At midnight, President Obama called South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, "to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula following the death," and to reaffirm, "the United States' strong commitment to the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the security of our close ally."

"The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develops and agreed they would direct their national security teams to continue close coordination," according to a statement from the White House.

Currently, there are about 29,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


South Korean President Addresses Joint Meeting of US Congress

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a packed House chamber, Lee Myung-bak, the president of South Korea, addressed a joint meeting of Congress Thursday afternoon, telling lawmakers of his humble beginnings in a war-torn Korean peninsula as he spelled out the importance of the bilateral relationship his country shares with the United States.

“Your friendship -- and our alliance -- has been indispensable throughout this remarkable journey of hope, and this is why all of you should be proud of what Korea and the Korean people have achieved,” Lee Myung-bak said. “Our alliance will grow and evolve, and it will prevail.”

Just a day after Congress voted to approve a free trade agreement with South Korea, Lee Myung-bak said that, “the United States and Korea have one of the closest, most important economic relationships in the world.”

“We invest in you and you invest in us because we are interdependent. When we trade together, we grow together. When we build together, we rise together. And when we work together, we win together,” he said. “A new chapter in our relationship has opened. Our relationship has become stronger.”

The Korean president received multiple standing ovations from Congress, the strongest of all when he paid tribute to four members of Congress – Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Sam Johnson, R-Texas, and Howard Coble, R-N.C. -- veterans of the Korean War.

“The strength of a country is not measured in dollars alone. Our mutual defense keeps us strong, and it keeps us safe,” he said. “Ours is an alliance that is forged in blood.”

As for the future of Korea, Lee Myung-bak said he recognized the reality that Korea has been split in two, but he said he will “never accept it as a permanent condition” and he said the North and South “must achieve peaceful unification.”

“The two Koreas share the same language, history and customs. We are one people,” he said. “My hope is that these people and all 70 million Koreans will enjoy real happiness, real peace.”

“A unified Korea will be a friend to all and a threat to none … We therefore must achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and North Korea must give up their nuclear ambitions,” he added, inspiring another standing ovation. “Korea and the United States stand united.”

House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden sat behind Myung-bak as the Korean president delivered his remarks in Korean, while lawmakers and guests listened to a translation through a headset.

Myung-bak is the third head of state to address a joint meeting of Congress this year, joining Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 9 and May 24, respectively.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Hosts State Dinner for Korean President Lee

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and the first lady are hosting a State Dinner Thursday night in honor of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and first lady Kim Yoon-ok, replete with Korean influences and distinct American flair.

The East Room of the White House was transformed into a “celebration of an early Fall Harvest,” with centerpieces of green and red apples, cut-outs of fall leaves projected on the ceiling in yellow and red hues, and hibiscus flowers, the national flower of Korea, prominently featured.

The menu, which highlights vegetables from first lady Michelle Obama’s garden, includes butternut squash bisque, a salad of daikon sheets and masago rice pearl crispies, a nod to Korean traditions, and Texas Wagyu beef for the main event. For dessert, guests will be treated to a classic chocolate cake layered with Korean and American pears.

The after-dinner entertainment was to feature performances by the Ahn Trio and selections by Janelle Monáe.

The three American sisters that make up the trio were born in Seoul, South Korea, and have “earned a distinguished reputation for embracing 21st century classical music with their unique style and innovative collaborations,” according to the White House.

Janelle Monáe is a singer-songwriter from Kansas City, Kan., whose “innovative style melds a redefined pop sensibility with an extraordinary mash-up of soul, funk and rock n’ roll.”

Thursday marks the sixth Korean state visit to the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Takes Korean President Out for BBQ

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ahead of their official state visit Thursday, President Obama is having dinner Wednesday night with President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea.

Obama is dining with Lee at Woo Lae Oak, a Korean restaurant in Tyson’s Corner, Va. Members of the U.S. and Korean delegations are with them.

While the previously unannounced outing takes the leaders to a restaurant known for Korean barbeque, the menu includes other Korean fare as well.

The two leaders have a full day of events planned for Thursday, including an arrival ceremony, a joint press conference and an official state dinner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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