As South Korean and the U.S. troops began a 2-week intensive military drill Monday testing various military operations as a chain of reactions against the Feb. 12 North Korean nuclear test, newly elected President Park Geun-hye is set to visit its most powerful ally, the U.S., in early May.
In what would be her first official overseas visit since her office began last month, a presidential spokesman has said that Seoul and Washington are set to schedule various talks emphasizing the importance of the alliance as the tension in the Korean peninsula has augmented to a new height.
The South Korean Yonhap news agency has reported that Park's trip has been the focus of media attention in recent times amid speculations that the president might visit China before she gets to Washington.
Park "plans to visit the United States at the invitation of President Barack Obama, and South Korea and the U.S are conducting discussions with an early May visit in mind," spokesman Yoon Chang-jung told in a press briefing.
The first destination of the president would symbolize the importance of the chosen country as a powerful ally to South Korea. Presidents of South Korea in the past have regularly visited the four powerful countries - the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. They are also among the top nations aiming at ending North Korea's nuclear programs.
The U.S.- South Korean ally has led the U.N. efforts to punish North Korea over its nuclear test and have imposed powerful sanctions on the communist country.
The new leader last Friday vowed to sternly revoke provocations from their northern counterpart in a speech that gave new dimensions to the character of South Korea, otherwise known to remain indifferent to North's threats.
"Any country will risk self-destruction if it ignores people's needs and instead focuses on military power," Xinhua news has quoted the president as saying, "But if North Korea seeks changes, (South Korea) is ready to make efforts to restore trust."
Park's retaliation came after North Korea threatened to cut off the military hotline with South Korea and nullify the armistice agreement.
In what appears to be North's keeping through its promise, after the U.S.-South Korean troops began the military exercise called "Key Resolve" Monday, two phone call checks from South Korea went unanswered.
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