- Associated Press - Thursday, October 13, 2011

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is giving South Korean President Lee Myung-bak a high-profile White House welcome a day after Congress approved a long-sought free trade agreement.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama greeted Lee and his wife, Kim Yoon-ok, on the South Lawn for a formal arrival ceremony Thursday morning at the start of a state visit full of pomp, circumstance and substance.

The day was to include an Oval Office meeting between Obama and Lee and an address by Lee to a joint session of Congress, all culminating with a state dinner Thursday night.

The visit of the close U.S. ally comes on the heels of congressional approval of a trade pact with South Korea that the Obama administration says will create 70,000 jobs.

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