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Tough Negotiation for Troop Dispatch Between Korea and U.S.

Tough Negotiation for Troop Dispatch Between Korea and U.S.

Posted November. 07, 2003 23:05,   


Now that the South Korean delegation has failed to reach a consensus on the function and the size of troop dispatch with the U.S. in Washington D.C., the South Korean government reportedly started to go over a new troop dispatch plan on Friday.

During a two-day negotiation with the United States on November 5-6 (local time), the Seoul delegation suggested a plan of sending around 3,000 Korean soldiers, mainly composed of non-combatant troops, and tapped the U.S.’ opinion on it.

However, in consideration of the actual situation in Iraq, the U.S. negotiators were reported to maintain their stance of requesting South Korea to send “stabilization troops,” who are able to execute independent operations in some designated areas of Iraq.

In particular, the U.S. Department of Defense reportedly expressed a strong complaint to the Seoul delegation during the negotiation, saying that the South Korea government “should at least show good faith to the U.S.,“ a remark which may forecast some conflict in tuning the opinions between the two nations in the future.

“We were informed that the U.S. Department of Defense raised an objection to our plan of dispatching non-combatant troop suggested by the Korean delegation,” a key official of the Blue House said. “We understood that U.S. Department of State and National Security Council (NSC) expressed their hope that South Korea would play a more active role in this issue.”

The official added that the possibility of such different opinions was already expected prior to the delegation’s departure for Washington. “It is very likely that the United States will request a new plan via U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who will visit Seoul to attend the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) on November 16, so we will be reviewing the issue of feature and size of troop dispatch again from scratch,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Korean delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Su-hyuck met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in Asia-Pacific Division Richard Lawless, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Security Peter Roadman at the U.S. Department of State one after another on November 6. The delegation then met with Steve Hadley, the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Advisor and discussed the function, size, and timing of additional troop dispatch. In the meeting, the U.S. side explained a plan of switching military forces in Iraq in detail and exchanged opinions with the Korean delegation, the report said. An international source in Washington reported, “The meeting between South Korea and the U.S. was nothing but a discussion, and there was no concrete final decision at the end.” Another source said the atmosphere was “heavy and tense.”

The South Korean delegation was originally opened to another day of negotiation in case of any necessary talks after two days of meeting on November 5-6, but decided to return home on November 8 in the afternoon due to no need for additional discussion.

maypole@donga.com jnghn@donga.com