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Variable For Iraq Dispatch: NK Nuclear Dialogue

Posted October. 01, 2003 22:44,   


On October 1, President Roh Moo-hyun announced, “Assurance of peace and stability in the Korean peninsula is the priority in reviewing the case of sending Korean troops to Iraq” and added, “Most of all, we need to create a more stable situation for dialogue that will guarantee a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear crisis.”

Roh gave the speech at the 55th Armed Forces Day event held at the Seoul Airport, Sung-nam. In his speech, he highlighted that “whichever direction the deployment final decision takes, it should not become a factor that inhibits integration of the people.”

President Roh also added, “In order to establish a strong security position, we need to improve our self-defense capacity within 10 years. If Korea cannot defend itself, when it is the 12th largest economy in the world, it is a dishonor to the country in the international stage and the people of Korea will feel ashamed.”

Meanwhile, on the same day, Foreign minister, Yoon Young-kwan said, “We are aware that there are many negative responses among the people about sending troops to Iraq. The most important factor in deciding on this matter is what the President thinks.”

This day at a meeting with the press, upon receiving questions from the chief editors of politics concerning Iraq dispatch, Minister Yoon answered as follows.

When asked whether it would be possible to dispatch military engineers and military doctors instead of combat troops, Minister Yoon answered, “The US asked us to send light infantry to maintain public order in Iraq. That is why combat troops were mentioned.”

Surrounding the next 6-way talks, Minister Yoon said, “It will be difficult to hold the talks this month because it is a busy month. It should be held either in November or December, but the date has not been finalized.”

Han Seung-joo, the Korean Ambassador to US said, “Taking into consideration the somewhat positive effect that deployment of military engineers and military doctors to Iraq had on Korea-US relations and Korea’s diplomatic stance, additional dispatch could bring a multiplying effect.”

At the parliamentary inspection by the committee of reunification, diplomacy and trade (chair, Seo Jung-hwa Grand National Party), Han suggested his personal opinions that“It is advisable to dispatch extra troops to Iraq without negotiating any conditions.”

“Even if we do not attach any conditions to it, it will have positive effects,” he added.

Surrounding the specific size of the deployment, he commented, “It could be a minimum of 3,000 or even 5,000 as the US has mentioned, but it is not of something that we could define in terms of numbers. What is needed is the structure that takes after the formation of a division.”

Meanwhile, Han said in relation to the date of the six-way talks that “China is directly and indirectly communicating with North Korea. Although we hope it to be held in October, shouldn’t it be held in November at the latest?”