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U.S. Reducing U.S. Forces in Korea by 30 Percent

Posted October. 19, 2003 23:00,   


AP Network reported on October 18 from Washington that the U.S. government is pressing South Korea to accept its proposal to reduce the number of U.S. soldiers in Korea by 12,000 from the 37,000 it has now.

AP announced that the relocation plans of U.S. forces in Korea are materializing in detail during U.S. President George W. Bush’s participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and visit to Asian countries, saying, “The negotiation is under way over the details.”

The network also reported, “The reduced U.S. forces in Korea will be trained as rapid-reaction forces and will be able to be deployed to any other areas in the Asia-Pacific region.”

AP analyzed that this plan reflects U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s vision to make U.S. forces more flexible in the global scale as a response to terrorism threats.

After the negotiation about the relocation of U.S. forces in Korea started in the early 1990s, it hasn’t seen much progress since. But Secretary Rumsfeld has pushed forward the plan, including the one to relocate the U.S. Army base in Yongsan to south of Seoul, strongly in recent months, added the network.

One official of South Korean administration denied this, saying, “Certainly, the reduction of U.S. forces in Korea can be discussed, but currently no negotiation is under way about it between the U.S. and the South Korean government.”

The official added, “The negotiation currently discussed in the Korean-American meeting for the mediation is about the moving and relocation of the U.S. army base, not about the reduction of U.S. forces in Korea.”

Jin Lee Young-Sik Kim leej@donga.com spear@donga.com