SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- South Korea welcomed Thursday an agreement among U.S. Congressional leaders to take up next month an outstanding trade deal between the two countries, originally signed in 2007.

Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a joint statement Wednesday they have agreed upon a "path forward" to pass three separate trade bills, including a Seoul-Washington free trade agreement.

"We welcome the expression of the will (to pass the deal)," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Officials here has sought to get the bill ratified in August in tandem with the United States, but the standoff in Washington over raising the debt ceiling delayed the U.S. action on the pact.

"The U.S. Congress did not manage to vote on the deal before the August recess as previously known, which fell short of our expectations, but we expect the strong will of the Senate leaders will help Congress ratify the bill once it convenes in September," the ministry added.

August 4, 2011

Source: Xinhua News