The sinking of the Sewol ferry a year ago was the worst peacetime civil disaster in South Korean history. Families of the missing and dead remain aggrieved over the handling of the rescue operation.
A dispute over possible deployment has brought sharp words between Seoul and Beijing. Foreign ministers of S. Korea, China, and Japan will meet for the first time in three years Saturday amid tensions over security, territory, and wartime history.
North Korea's state media praised the knife attack and said it showed anti-US sentiment in South Korea. Ambassador Mark Lippert is recovering after surgery on his face and hand.
The handover would grant South Korea full control of its military in the event of a conflict. But the transfer might be delayed yet again.
As part of his four-country tour of Asia, Obama will visit the Philippines Monday. He's expected to highlight the importance of security cooperation and the Philippines' strategic role in the region.
North Korea backed off its threat to block reunions of families split by the Korean War, after Secretary of State Kerry refused to budge on planned military exercises with South Korea.