Barack Obama has maintained close ties with South Korea; he is good friends with President Lee Myung-bak. He has stood by the country on matters relating to North Korea. In addition, he has shown admiration for some South Korean social policies and believes the US should follow their example.
Mr Obama visited South Korea's tense border with the North on Sunday in a show of solidarity with U.S. ally Seoul and a message of resolve to Pyongyang's new young ruler in his country's nuclear standoff with the West.
...The President's tour, which followed in the footsteps of White House predecessors and bristled with Cold War symbolism, came amid rising concern over a planned North Korean rocket launch next month that threatens to derail a deal to resume U.S. food aid.
President Obama said a new free-trade agreement with South Korea will support 70,000 American jobs and encourage international business partnerships, as the president made his second visit to Michigan in less than two months.
"The more goods and services we sell abroad, the more jobs we can create at home," Obama told several hundred workers and local officials assembled at the plant. He said he hopes to see more goods bearing "three proud words: Made in America. … Koreans should be able to buy some Fords and Chryslers and Chevys that are made right here," he added, with a nod to the success of South Korean automakers in the U.S.
“Korea has emerged as the U.S.’s most reliable partner,” said Michael Green, a former National Security Council director for Asia.“This is now probably Obama’s strongest relationship in Asia.”
...The close tie between Obama and Lee is a somewhat surprising development for an administration that came in more focused on China, Japan and India, such experts say — a result of the political turmoil in Japan and India, and an often fractious relationship with China over economic and security issues.
"... the biggest impact on a child's success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as 'nation builders.' Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones."
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for reform in U.S. education and stressed the need to rebuild infrastructure to catch up with South Korea and other strong performing countries.
“Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped,” Obama said in the nationally-televised State of the Union address. “South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do..."
President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged the United States would stand "shoulder to shoulder" with South Korea after what the White House branded a provocative, outrageous attack by North Korea on its neighbor...
"South Korea is our ally. It has been since the Korean war," Obama said in his first comments about the North Korean shelling of a South Korean island early Tuesday. "And we strongly affirm our commitment to defend South Korea as part of that alliance."
One of the topics that we discussed is that we have arrived at an agreement that the transition of operational control for alliance activities in the Korean Peninsula will take place in 2015. This gives us appropriate time to -- within the existing security context -- to do this right, because this alliance is the lynchpin of not only security for the Republic of Korea and the United States but also for the Pacific as a whole. And South Korea is one of our closest friends -- we want to make sure that we execute what’s called the opcon transition in an effective way.
I expressed to President Lee once again the condolences of all Americans for the tragic Cheonan incident, and indicated to him that we stand foursquare behind him. He has handled this issue with great judgment and restraint. He rightly is insisting on North Korea being held -- held to account for its actions in the United States Security Council. We are fully supportive of that effort.
President Obama’s visit to South Korea on Thursday was unusual for an American president in that there were no major anti-American protests...
“Let me just say we have been so gratified by the warm welcome by which we were received here,” Mr. Obama said. “I think that has every indication that our alliance is strong.”
It was Mr. Obama’s first visit to South Korea as president, a 22-hour stop at the end of a tour of Asia that included stops at an Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore and visits to Japan and China.
President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said they are committed to making the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, and that recent actions by North Korea pose a grave threat.
“North Korea has abandoned its own commitments and violated international law,” Obama said June 16 at a White House press conference with Lee. “Its nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a grave threat to peace and security of Asia and to the world.”