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Armitage Wants Close Cooperation with Korean Government

Posted December. 10, 2002 22:41,   


At a meeting on Dec. 10, Richard Armitage, US Deputy Secretary of State, made clear the US position to improve the agreement governing the legal status of 37,000 US troops stationed here to President Kim Dae-jung, Foreign Minister Choi Seong-hong, and Defense Minister Lee Jun.

Mr. Armitage also made an apology for the case in which a US armored vehicle ran over two Korean teenage girls to death on behalf of the US government and showed its willingness to consult with the South Korean government in order to prevent similar cases from occurring.

On his courtesy visit to President Kim at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, he said, "For me, the most important mission during this visit is to express the regret and apology of the US government." He added, "When it comes to public protests related to the death case of the two girls, Koreans’ pride is at stake. Through this visit, I hope to convey the fact that the US is respecting Koreans."

At the meeting, President Kim said that it is very important to assure Koreans that Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is working, by improving the implementation of SOFA to allow both sides to work together when an accident happens. President Kim also said that he hopes that consultation among the US ambassador to Seoul, the US State Department and the Department of Defense will be made at the earliest date.

At another meeting earlier that day Prime Minister Kim Suck-soo asked cabinet ministers and leaders of every walk of life to win over the public saying that when it comes to quieting down anti-Americanism, the government’s effort is not enough.

Meanwhile, South Korea and the US are scheduled to discuss ways to improve implementation of SOFA in depth at "The two plus two high-level talks" among Korean and US foreign and security-related officials slated for Dec. 11 and the meeting of a subcommittee under the SOFA joint committee slated for Dec. 12.

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