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US Postpones Transferring JSA Guarding to ROK Army

Posted September. 03, 2003 23:09,   


The time for ROK Army to be transferred guarding duty for Joint Security Area at Panmunjum from the US Forces was expected to be end of next year, but seems to be delayed for more than two years in the least.

Korea and America held 4ht meeting on `Collaborated Policy Formulation Conference for Future Korea & USA Alliance` at Ministry of National Defense located in Yongsan Seoul on the 3rd. Sources say that the US decided to reexamine the existing agreement where Korea was supposed to be transferred the JSA guarding duty around end of 2004 to early 2005 taking into consideration the concern on security of the Korean Peninsula.

Ministry of Defense clarified that USA accepted the anxiety from Korea that full transfer of JSA guarding may influence the dignity UN Forces command center and the truce, resulting in civil security worries to maintain the present system.

Accordingly, both countries are said to discuss gradually reducing the number of US armed forces soldiers guarding JSA from 179 to 40 by 2006 when the 1st stage US 2nd division reassignment will be propelled, and then completely withdraw them at the 2nd stage when the 2nd division gets into stride to move to south of Han River.

One source from Ministry of Defense said, “The American side has positively accepted our insistence, thus the time for JSA guarding duty transfer is expected to be after 2006 at the fastest.”Both countries are also expected to discuss specific time and method to reassign US 2nd Division and moving military base at Yongsan, along with the time to transfer strategy to make powerless North Korean artillery in case of emergency.

In particular, the location and area of US Forces residue according to moving Yongsan base will influence Seoul`s park formation plan and provision of expense for the moving, drawing attention to the result of negotiation. Also, the American side is insisting 2006 for transferring strategy to make powerless North Korean artillery, but Korea claims that a better way is to decide later after joint-evaluation of ROK Army strategy performing capacity every 6 months.

The conference will be continued until the 4th, and Section Chief of Policy in Ministry of Defense Mr. Cha Yeong-gu and Richard Lawless US Assistant Secretary of defense in charge of East-Asia Pacific are taking office as chief representatives.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com