SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama met with his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak on Thursday to hold a summit on diverse regional and global issues, including the DPRK nuclear program and the pending bilateral free trade agreement.
Obama, arriving at Seoul's presidential office at local time 11:00 a.m. (0200 GMT), attended a welcoming ceremony and left a message on the visitor's note.
"Let me just say we have been so gratified by the warm welcome by which we were received here in the Republic of Korea (South Korea)," Obama told Lee at the start of their summit.
"I think that has every indication that our alliance is strong," he said.
Lee, in response, welcomed Obama's visit that followed his earlier trips to Japan, Singapore, and China, saying he believes the U.S. president saved "the best" for last.
After holding a one-on-one meeting, the two leaders are expected to be joined by their key ministers for a 30-minute "expanded" summit, Seoul's presidential office said.
Lee and Obama will hold a joint press conference after their summit, which will be followed by a state lunch hosted by the South Korean president.
After visiting a U.S. military base to meet with a group of American service members stationed here, Obama will head home, wrapping up his four-nation Asia tour.
The Lee-Obama meeting is the third of a kind since Obama's inauguration in February.