SEOUL — President Barack Obama announced Thursday a US envoy would visit North Korea early next month, as he joined South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in urging the communist state back to nuclear talks.
But differences remained between the two leaders on a lucrative free trade pact which is awaiting ratification by a reluctant US Congress, though Lee offered to ease the anxiety of beleaguered US automakers over the deal.
A friendly, warm summit at the Blue House presidential residence contrasted with the stiff formality of Obama's meetings in Beijing, and came on the last day of an Asian tour designed to revive US diplomacy in the region.
In a later visit to a US military base at Osan, south of Seoul, Obama told some of the 28,500 US troops in the country that their sacrifices guaranteed South Korea's thriving economy and lifestyle, before leaving for home on Air Force One.
US envoy Stephen Bosworth's mission will be to coax the North back to the six-party nuclear disarmament talks which it quit in April, a month before staging a second atomic weapons test.
"We will be sending Ambassador Bosworth to North Korea on December 8 to engage in direct talks with the North Koreans," Obama told a joint press conference. Related article: US envoy to visit North Korea on Dec 8.To read full AFP story — Go Here Now.
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