South Korea's Lee Visits White House
State visit coincides with new free trade agreement
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2011 11:01 AM CDT
President Barack Obama welcomes South Korean President Lee Myung-bak during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct., 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – President Obama welcomed Lee Myung-bak to the White House with all the requisite pomp and circumstance today, touting the newly-minted free trade agreement between South Korea and the US. “With our landmark trade agreement, we will bring our nations even closer, creating new jobs for both our people and preserving our edge as two of the most dynamic economies in the world,” Obama declared, as he and Michelle Obama formally welcomed the South Korean president and his wife in a rainy South Lawn ceremony.

The South Korean president hailed the agreement as a “historic achievement” that “will open a new chapter in our relationship,” the AP reports. Obama and Lee are scheduled to address a joint session of Congress, meet in the Oval Office, and share an official state dinner at the White House. The Obamas and Lees actually dined together last night as well at a DC restaurant, according to the Washington Post, which also has an amusing piece on how the state dinner custom got started.