South Korea State Visit Links

S. Korean State Visit Highlights Bond Between 2 Leaders
New York Times

During the state visit of South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak, which began on Wednesday, he will be feted at a White House state dinner, invited to speak to a joint session of Congress, and treated to a road trip to Detroit with President Obama, where the two leaders plan to tour a General Motors factory together.

For a visiting head of state, the carpet does not get any redder than that, and it suggests that there may be something mysterious and powerful at play between Mr. Obama and Mr. Lee: Call it a presidential man-crush.

US, South Korean first ladies visit VA high school
AP via Google News

[First Lady Michelle Obama’s] trip to an area of northern Virginia with a large Korean population was part of the pageantry surrounding Thursday’s state visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his wife, Kim Yoon-ok.

Mrs. Obama brought her counterpart along on the field trip. More than 10 percent of the high school’s 2,500 students are of Korean descent, the White House said, and the student body speaks several dozen languages.

Seated in the gymnasium, the two first ladies soaked up performances by a children’s choir, a trio of Ethiopian folk dancers, a harpist and drummer who performed a traditional Korean melody, and a musical selection by Korean-American violinist Jennifer Koh.

White House dinner icing on SKorea charm offensive
AP via CBS News

Obama has developed a special rapport with Lee: The two clicked during Obama’s first trip to Asia in 2009, and the signs of friendship were manifold during his visit to Washington.

Obama and Lee hopped into a limo and headed off to a Korean restaurant in suburban Virginia for dinner Wednesday night. And during dinner, Obama shared the long-awaited news — hot off his BlackBerry — that Congress had finished work on a free-trade agreement with South Korea.

Vice President Joe Biden got in on the charm offensive at a Thursday luncheon of lemongrass sesame chicken in the State Department’s opulent Ben Franklin Room. He took note of Lee’s nickname “Bulldozer” and said Lee, slight of build, doesn’t look anything like an NFL linebacker, but had earned his nickname by taking apart and reassembling a bulldozer to figure out how to make it work better.

State dinner guest David Kim, and how he almost missed it
Washington Post

Most people would be thrilled to be invited to a state dinner and David Kim is. . . now. But it took some persuading.

The 32-year old entrepreneur and founder of C2 Education Centers, Inc. in Atlanta received one of the coveted engraved invitations to Thursday’s state dinner for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak — but didn’t realize it until a co-worker pointed out the return address on the thick ivory envelope.

“I just assumed it was a wedding invitation,” said Kim, who had several friends get married this year. “It was literally lying on my desk for a week, in my inbox.”

South Korea state dinner fashion: Get ready for hanboks
Washington Post

Fashion-watchers keeping an eye on tonight’s state dinner will be noting the first lady’s choice of designer, but the White House’s Korean and Korean-American guests have a choice: Will they opt for modern glamour or for the flowing traditional dress of Korea, the hanbok?

D.C. children offered a taste of South Korean state visit

Establishing goodwill and building on an already strong foundation. That was the motive behind the “Taste of Korea” event in Washington.

A number of activities were held to help foster better understanding between Korean and American cultures. Youngsters enjoyed everything from a cooking lesson and arts and crafts to live music and a martial arts demonstration.

Twenty middle school students from Alice Deal Middle School in Washington were invited to the festivities. They were joined by twenty Korean American students – all of them children of employees of the Embassy of Korea.


A-listers, tweeple, protesters … South Korean president’s DC visit has guest lists for all
AP via Washington Post

The morning arrival ceremony, with its heavy dose of South Lawn pomp and ceremony, always is a sought-after ticket.

The higher-octane state dinner still is the ultimate black-tie invitation in wonky Washington.

But this state visit also will include a “tweetup,” an in-person meeting of people who use social media such as Twitter and Facebook, offering participants — tweeple — a chance to attend and live tweet the arrival ceremony for the leader of one of the most wired nations on earth.

It’s just one more way for President Barack Obama to make a grand show of hospitality for his South Korean guests at the first White House dinner for the country since 1998. The two leaders hit it off during Obama’s first trip to Asia in 2009, and have been allies on a number of key issues.