South Korean president visits Los Angeles

May 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
South Korean President Park Geun-hye wrapped up a U.S. tour Thursday with a visit to Los Angeles, home to the largest number of Koreans outside of her country.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hosted a luncheon at his residence in Hancock Park. Gov. Jerry Brown also attended.

Park, who took office in February, spent time in Washington earlier this week, discussing ongoing tensions with North Korea. But Thursday's event was all about Korea's ties to Los Angeles.

"Forty-five percent of the goods coming into the U.S. come through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and a significant portion of those come from Korea," said Jerrold Green with the Pacific Council on International Policy.

For tangible proof of Korea's economic impact on Los Angeles, look no further than 7th and Figueroa streets. It will be the future home of the Wilshire Grand, the tallest building on the West Coast, owned by Korean Air.

"It's a billion-dollar project, investment by Korean Air," said Chris Martin, the CEO of the architectural firm building the Wilshire Grand. "It's probably one of the finest examples of international trade that's an ongoing thing between South Korea and Los Angeles."

At the luncheon, Park raised a toast to a more successful alliance with Los Angeles.


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