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S. Korean: FTA with U.S. ‘right thing’

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Unread 11.26.11, 05:02 AM
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S. Korean: FTA with U.S. ‘right thing’

11.25.11 01:53 PM

SEOUL, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- The president of South Korea called a new free-trade agreement with the United States the "right thing to do" for South Korea's survival in the global market.

"We are a country that must sell products overseas. Of course, there are objections," President Lee Myung-bak said Friday. "But if it is the right thing to do, we should go ahead and do it even if there are objections. That's how a country moves forward."

The deal was approved Tuesday by South Korea's National Assembly after the two countries were in a diplomatic and political deadlock on the issue since 2007, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The U.S. Congress passed the agreement last month with hopes that it will take effect Jan 1.

The opposition to the pact in South Korea has vowed to boycott all parliamentary sessions, claiming the agreement favors the United States, the report said.

Critics and anti-government activist have held demonstrations in downtown Seoul since Tuesday, often clashing with riot police. Protesters claim the agreement will hurt everyday life for South Korea residents, including raising prices for medical care.

"Mysterious rumors are circulating about the FTA with the U.S.," Lee said. "But all of those who are familiar with the issue are well aware that we have to do this in order to survive. The United States is the world's largest market, and we have to get to the market ahead of others if we are going to have an edge over Japan and China."

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