South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday discussed early ratification of the Korea-U.S. Free-Trade Agreement with a team of five U.S. Republican senators led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), according to the Korea Herald. Sen. McConnell had attended Lee’s meetings with the U.S. senate leadership during his U.S. visits in 2008 and 2009.

Lee also spoke with Sen. Mike Johanns (R.Neb.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Rob Portman (R. Ohio) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Lee exchanged views with the U.S. senators on the two countries’ security ties, pending FTA as well as recent developments surrounding the Korean Peninsula, Kim said.

Noting that the bilateral alliance was growing stronger than ever, Lee called on the U.S. Congress for continued interest and efforts. President Lee and the senators agreed that it was most important for the two allies to join efforts in dealing with issues related to North Korea.

Seoul has maintained its position that it will not return to the six-nation nuclear talks unless North Korea admits and apologizes for the attacks on the naval ship Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island last year, which killed 50 South Koreans.

Washington officials have repeatedly confirmed that they were on the same page with South Korea in terms of issues related to North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose husband had supported Seoul’s engagement under past liberal administrations, made no direct mention of North Korea during her visit to Seoul last weekend.

Source: Korea Herald