February 04, 2014 10:38
U.S. President Barack Obama is considering a stopover in Korea, during his tour of Asia in April, a senior diplomatic source said Monday. Experts have warned that visiting Japan but skipping Korea could give the wrong impression amid heightening tensions between the two U.S. allies.
No firm itinerary has been set for Obama's tour.
"Washington is worried about tensions between Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo," a senior presidential official at Cheong Wa Dae said. "The U.S. is now considering adding Korea to Obama's itinerary to prevent regional tensions from adversely affecting its Northeast Asian strategy."
Another government official here said, "We've expressed our worries to the U.S. government that Obama could send a wrong diplomatic signal to the administration of Shinzo Abe if he skips Korea" after Abe's inflammatory visit to the militarist Yasukuni Shrine.
"Due to our worries, the U.S. is readjusting his schedule," the official added.
Obama was originally rumored to be visiting only Japan and the Philippines.
The trip will probably start around Easter Sunday.
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