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U.S. Begins Consultations Over Realignment of Overseas Forces

U.S. Begins Consultations Over Realignment of Overseas Forces

Posted November. 26, 2003 23:00,   


U.S. President George W. Bush released a statement on November 25 saying that the U.S. will intensify its discussions with Asian and European allies over the global posture of U.S. forces.

The plan is expected to accelerate the rearrangement of U.S. Forces in Korea, which has been hampered by last minute disagreements over the relocation of the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.

In his statement, President Bush said that since the end of the Cold War, dangers associated with rogue nations, global terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction have become new threats to the world. He announced, “Starting today, the United States will intensify our discussions with the Congress and our friends, allies, and partners overseas regarding our ongoing review of the posture of our overseas force.”

Since its inauguration in January 2001, the Bush administration has been evaluating its Global Posture Review (GPR) to strengthen the mobility and modern capabilities of U.S. forces in order to better cope with new security threats.

President Bush emphasized, “We will ensure that we place the right capabilities in the most appropriate locations to best address the new security environment.”

He also added, “Secretary Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld will further describe our efforts at the NATO ministerial meetings in early December. High-level U.S. teams will begin their consultations in foreign capitals in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere following those meetings.”

However, the White House said that the statement by the President will not affect its realignment plan in Korea, which is currently under consideration.

Presidential spokesman Yoon Tae-young said that U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice called National Security Advisor Ra Joing-yil a day before the statement came and said, “The consultations will be held at a global level and will not affect the ongoing discussions with Korea.”

In addition, a National Security Council (NSC) official said, “The U.S. has not made any decisions to reduce U.S. forces in Korea or dismantle U.N. Command.” He explained to Korean correspondents that no decisions have yet been made on the relocation of forces and added, “The realignment of overseas U.S. forces could take several years.”

Regarding the possibility of reduction and relocation of U.S. forces in Korea, another NSC official explained that because, along with Iraq, Korea is one of the biggest conflict areas and is directly linked to U.S. interests, the security alliance will never be changed, and defense capabilities will rather be enhanced.

The official added, “We expect Korea to contribute to resolving issues in Iraq with its trustworthy military forces, which are armed with unique capabilities.” He further urged, “The troops to be dispatched to Iraq should not only be able to help rebuild Iraq, but also have self-defense capabilities.”

maypole@donga.com jnghn@donga.com