WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama will visit the tense border zone between the two Koreas after arriving in Seoul on Sunday for a nuclear security summit, a White House official said Tuesday.
Obama will also hold bilateral summits with China’s Hu President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, during his three-day stay in South Korea, officials said.
Officials said that Obama wanted to show support for the alliance for South Korea and also US soldiers at the demilitarized zone which is surrounded by barbed wire and minefields and bisects the Korean peninsula.
The United States has based troops in the South since the 1950-53 war with the North and the force currently numbers 28,500.
The border has been visited by several US leaders including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who in 1993 described it as “the scariest place on earth”.
Cross-border tension has been high since Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing one of its warships with the loss of 46 lives in March 2010.
The North angrily denied involvement but went on to shell a border island and kill four South Koreans in November the same year.