“This agreement shows the U.S. is willing to lead and compete in the global economy,” he told reporters Saturday at the White House, calling it a triumph for American workers.
The breakthrough can be seen as an achievement for Mr. Obama, who has drawn criticism over the slow U.S. economic recovery and stubbornly high unemployment rate. He long criticized the original deal as being bad for the United States.
Mr. Lee, meanwhile, has drawn flak at home for an allegedly weak and indecisive response to the North Korean artillery attack. His government has come under further scrutiny over the trade deal, with opposition parties seeing it as a capitulation to Washington.
Lee Chun-seok, spokesman for the main opposition Democratic Party, accused the government of making “massive concessions against our national interests,” his party said. “We cannot find the principle of reciprocity anywhere in the agreement.”
Kang Ki-kab, a legislator with the small Democratic Labor Party, said the deal highlights South Korea’s “diplomacy of submission to America.”
Protesters, including Mr. Kang and other opposition lawmakers, shouted slogans and held up signs Sunday in central Seoul criticizing the president and his policies. Police said the crowd numbered about 2,200 and the protest was peaceful.
Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Erica Werner, Julie Pace and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.