Obama to Receive Honorary Taekwondo Belt

U.S. President Barack Obama will be given an honorary taekwondo belt to mark his first visit to Korea on Wednesday and Thursday. A government official said that President Lee Myung-bak will present Obama with an honorary taekwondo degree certificate and a uniform embroidered with his name.

Obama practiced taekwondo for about four years with an American master in Chicago from 2001 while he was serving in the Illinois state senate. He obtained a green belt.

Meanwhile, the government has yet to choose whether to serve the traditional Korean rice wine makgeolli or a Californian wine during the welcome luncheon on Thursday.

Some government officials say that makgeolli does not seem like a good idea since it has been served on several occasions such as the recent Korea-Japan summit and meetings with foreign diplomats stationed in Korea.

The government is considering a Californian wine as the leaders will discuss the ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, and the California wine industry stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the deal.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 13, 2009 11:35 KST