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One Thousand U.S Forces To Remain in Seoul

Posted August. 01, 2003 21:32,   


U.S. Forces Korea (USFK)`s Commanding General Leon J. Laporte said on July 1, “About 6,000 out of 7,000 U.S. forces stationed in Seoul will be relocated into the southern part of Han River while 1,000 will remain in place to work at the U.N. Command and Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command.”

The remarks came as General Laporte attended the 17th Managers Summer Forum, being held at the Shilla Hotel on Jeju Island and co-hosted by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) and the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business (KFSB), where he delivered a speech titled “The U.S.-Korea Security Cooperation to Establish Peace in East Asia.”

General Laporte explained the reason for the relocation of the forces, saying, “Some twenty years ago, we needed to deploy 7,000 forces in Seoul. However, this is not necessary any more. Rather, it can cause harm to citizens.” He added that any military tasks could be effectively implemented from a long distance since the current forces hold state-of-the-art technology at hand.

He emphasized, “Unfortunately, some people view this change in our forces as a sign of weakness or withdrawal. But, this is not true. Our promise toward security collaboration is very strong.”

General Laporte went on to say, “There would be no pre-emptive attacks by the U.S. against North Korea. America will be loyal to the U.S.-Korea alliance spirit of deterrence and will only respond to attacks on its forces.” He put great emphasis on the fact that all security-related measures will be decided with the Korean government based on the “Go Together” spirit.

Going on to talk about the tragedy where two young Korean girls were run over by U.S. military vehicles, General Laporte added, “I am also a grandfather and have a little grand daughter. I would like to express my deepest regret over the recent mind-boggling accident. I will find a way to pave a pedestrian road in the vicinity of the accident site to prevent the same kind of accident from happening in the future. In order to facilitate our communication with Korean citizens, we have opened an Internet site and are actively pursuing a ‘good neighborhood’ campaign.”

Yeon-Su Shin ysshin@donga.com