Seoul and Washington are apparently discussing a possible state visit to the U.S. by President Yoon Suk Yeol in the first half of the year, the first such official trip in 12 years.
According to diplomatic sources on Friday, the two sides are holding such discussions while also leaving open the possibility of making the president's visit an official or working visit.
A state visit to the U.S. by Yoon would be the first by a South Korean president since Lee Myung-bak in 2011, with interest growing over whether Yoon will address the U.S. Congress as Lee did 12 years ago.
Observers say a state visit is likely given that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. alliance combined with Yoon’s active promotion of close cooperation with the U.S. in all directions, with April a likely time for the visit.
A senior official at the presidential office told Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency that discussions on Yoon’s U.S. visit are under way, adding that nothing has been decided yet.
South Korean presidents have made a total of six state visits to the U.S., five of them featuring a speech before Congress.