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Decision on Troop Dispatch to Iraq At Hand

Posted October. 17, 2003 22:34,   


With the approval of the U.N. resolution by the Security Council on October 16, South Korea is likely to conclude its’ debates on additional troop dispatch to Iraq.

During the National Security Council (NSC) planned for early today, President Roh Moo-hyun will preside the meeting with pending issues such as international trends on U.N. resolution and Korean government’s future countermeasures, in order to focus on the decision of dispatching troops.

Although a final decision will not come out from the NSC meeting today, the Korean administration will still make its position clear toward the subject on troop dispatch. In line with the NSC discussion, President Roh will plan to deliver the nation’s stance to the president of the United States George W. Bush during a summit in Bangkok, Thailand on October 20.

Above all, the general tendency of government is rapidly inclined to dispatching troops after the approval of U.N. resolution, which may give more chance to support for sending troops to Iraq in NSC on October 18.

Prior to this, Defense Minister Cho Young-gil hinted at the government’s early decision-making during a regular briefing on September 17. “The unanimous vote of U.N. resolution by the Security Council will influence in some way the nations of which the United States asked for additional troop dispatch,” Cho said.

Cho reported that South Korea will present a detailed plan before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on November 17-18, during the Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) that is to be held in Seoul. According to his statement, the Korean government is likely to make a final decision on the subject by no later than mid-November.

Meanwhile, during a luncheon meeting with the Korean Veterans Association in the Blue House yesterday, President Roh said, “It is necessary to determine the most appropriate time for dispatch, the size, and the feature of troops, with consideration of the international political atmosphere. The nation’s interest and its’ prestige will be able to stay high based on the thorough preparatory process.” Roh also stressed that he would not decide the important details of troop dispatch issue with his personal political situation.

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com