By Ria Novosti
U.S. President Barack Obama will visit on Sunday the DMZ, the demilitarized zone separating North and South Koreas, ahead of a nuclear security summit in Seoul next week, the White House said.
The visit to the demilitarized zone that was established in 1953 after the end of the Korean War comes against the background of the U.S. and other western powers’ efforts to convince North Korea of abandoning its plans on nuclear weapons.
“The first event that the President will do is he will visit the demilitarized zone, which will be an important opportunity for him to meet with and see some of the American troops who are serving on the Korean Peninsula, while also underscoring the strength of our alliance with the Republic of Korea and our strong commitment, of course, to their security,” the White House quoted Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes as saying during a conference call on Tuesday.
Last week, North Korea announced plans to launch an earth observation to mark the 100th birthday of its late founding leader Kim Il-sung in April. The United States and other countries suspect that the launch is a thinly veiled ballistic missile test.
The official also said that on March 26 Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with the Russian President, which will be his last meeting with Dmitry Medvedev in the capacity of the Russian head of state.
“They’ll have an opportunity to discuss a range of issues. Certainly Iran, North Korea, and other regional security issues will be on the agenda – our shared efforts with the Russians, which have been critical on our nuclear security agenda, as well as our efforts to increase access for U.S. businesses to Russian markets,” Rhodes said.
The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit will be held in South Korea’s Seoul on March 26-27 and will be attended by more than 53 heads of state and international organizations.