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Relocation of U.S. Army Bases to Be Discussed in Coming April

Relocation of U.S. Army Bases to Be Discussed in Coming April

Posted February. 19, 2003 22:28,   


˝Under Korea-U.S. Land Partnership Plan, the two countries have been hammering out for years a plan to remove U.S. army bases down to the south part across the Han River, and the relocation of the second U.S. division is a part of the large plan,˝ said Minister of Defense Lee Jun on February 19.

˝We believe there will be a broad discussion about the role of U.S. forces in Korea, including relocation of army bases and reduction of forces, at the `Korean-U.S. Joint Alliance Policy Council` set to be held in April this year between defense ministries of the countries,˝ Lee testified at a National Assembly defense commit hearing.

˝The U.S. government has been crafting a plan to realign its forces in Korea centering on Navy and Air Force and remove the bases for ground troops southward across the Han River,˝ he stated. ˝Under a long-term strategy aimed at redefining the goal of Korean-U.S. alliance from the present `defense against North Korean threat` to `promotion of regional stability,` the two sides will discuss a broad range of issues such as the role, scale and restructuring of U.S. forces in Korea.˝

Of the plan to relocate the army bases southward, however, he emphasized, “We do not think now is the right time, and the discussion must be accompanied by reinforcement of Korean forces.˝

During the hearing, lawmakers from the both ruling and opposition parties expressed concern that a reduction in U.S. forces must not be an option given the tension arising from the North Korean nuclear program. They urged the government to cope well with the U.S. government, which has been hinting at the reduction of forces recently.

Sung-Won Park Sang-Ho Yun swpark@donga.com ysh1005@donga.com