S. Korean head at White House after trade approval

WASHINGTON (AP) ? South Korea’s president is set to visit the White House a day after Congress approved a long-sought free-trade agreement.

President Lee Myung-bak will also on Thursday become the first South Korean leader in 13 years to address a joint meeting of Congress.

The high-profile state visit will cement his standing as President Barack Obama’s staunchest ally in Asia.

Congress approved the trade pact Wednesday, some four years after it was first agreed by the two governments. South Korea’s legislature must also approve it before it takes effect.

The pact is expected to generate tens of thousands of jobs and boost the U.S. trade agenda in the economically vibrant Asia-Pacific region.