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Korea Should Prepare Itself for the Possible Reduction of U.S. Armaments

Korea Should Prepare Itself for the Possible Reduction of U.S. Armaments

Posted December. 30, 2002 22:18,   


President-elect Roh Moo-hyun on Dec. 30 said, “There were talks of voluntarily reducing U.S. armaments in Korea. Recently, the issue has been brought up again. In case of the reduction of U.S. armaments in Korea, Korean military should prepare itself for the possible armaments reduction by drawing up 5 to 20-year plans.”

The President-to-be attended a joint briefing on operational reports by the chiefs of the General staff of the army, navy and air forces in an army base in Nonsan, Chungnam.

During the joint briefing, he said, “According to changes in U.S. defense strategies, there were on-and-off talks of reducing the size of U.S. troops stationed in Korea. On that premise, I wonder if the Korean military has already come up with long-term strategies to cope with the possible situation, including how to make up for the reduction of U.S. armaments in Korea.”

“War is a dangerous and to avoid a possible military conflict on the Korean peninsular, the Korean military have to do utmost efforts. In order for Koreans to devote themselves to their daily lives, the confrontation between the North and the U.S. should be resolved peacefully through dialogue,” he assured.

The President-elect reiterated the importance of resolving North Korea`s nuclear threat peacefully through dialogue by saying, “Many Koreans assume that in the case of a possible and limited U.S. military attack against only part of the North, Pyongyang might mount a retaliatory attack against the South. If so, it is impossible for the Korean military to avoid responding to the attack and which might lead to an all-out war.”

“If tough measures, such as suspension of dialogue and economic assistance, are taken in response to the North`s moves, such a worst case scenario should be taken into account. That`s why President Kim Dae-jung and I have placed an emphasis on the peaceful settlement of the issue,” he reaffirmed his position.

He suggested, “I will do my best to solve the issue peacefully by enlisting international supports and sometimes showing various but not dangerous responses. At any case, there is no doubt that the issue must be resolved in a peaceful fashion.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Choi Byung-leyul, Chairman of the Grand National Party`s ad-hoc committee dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat, contended in a general meeting of the GNP`s lawmakers, “Early this month in the South Korea-U.S. defense ministers` meeting, Seoul and Washington discussed security issues concerning the Korean Peninsular for the first time on the premise that there is no U.S. ground troops stationed in Korea and we already confirmed it.”

Mr. Choi raised concerns over mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsular by saying, “Because of candle light vigils in protest to the acquittals of the two U.S. soldiers involved in road accident which claimed two teenage Korean girls` lives, five U.S. House representatives canceled their scheduled visit to Korea. We confirmed that when two U.S. senators paid a courtesy visit to President Kim, “If Koreans do not want the presence of U.S. troops stationed here, it is possible to withdraw them,” one of the senators was quoted as telling the president during the meeting.”

Yong-Gwan Jung Min-Hyuk Park yongari@donga.com mhpark@donga.com