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Elite Troop Dispatch in the Rear Considered

Posted September. 26, 2003 23:19,   


The government has finished its internal review over the size and the units that it may send to Iraq in case the government accepts the United States` request for additional troops and reportedly is negotiating with the U.S. side on the details, sources said yesterday.

The government has allegedly decided to dispatch top-level troops consisting of 5,000 soldiers of a size of in-between a brigade and a division from southern regions of South Korea, so as to not minimize its deterrence against North Korea.

˝I heard that the government has proposed the dispatch of 5,000 troops to the U.S.,˝ one source in Seoul said yesterday. ˝The government is considering recruiting soldiers for the dispatch from a division located in south of South Korea to maintain its deterrence against North Korea.˝

˝Responding to the U.S.’s request, I heard the government expressed Washington its wiliness to send a division structured forces that can command multinational forces in Iraq, regardless of the size of dispatch.

In the condition of dispatching additional troops, as mentioned above, the South Korean government is reportedly planning to demand the U.S. side to delay the relocation of their forces, including the U.S. Second Division stationed in South Korea, until the North Korean nuclear crisis is resolved.

On this, the officials of South Korea and the U.S. will meet before the annual Security Consultative Meeting to be held on October 24 and 25 to reach an agreement over practical matters in dispatching additional South Korean forces to Iraq.

Cha Young-gu(Lt. Gen.), assistant minister for defense policy, Wi Sunglac, director-general of North American Affairs Bureau and Seo Ju-seok, strategy planning director for the National Security Council met John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday to hear more details on the position of the U.S. over the additional dispatch and expressed the government’s position.

˝General review is being conduced, but nothing has not been decided yet,˝ Yoon said. ˝The U.N. resolution would not a precondition for the dispatch at the moment.˝

Yoon responded as above when he was asked by John, ˝How is the current situation of South Korea over the Iraq (Dispatch) issue,˝

Kwan-Hee Hong Sang-Ho Yun konihong@donga.com ysh1005@donga.com