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“Troop Dispatch Plan to Iraq Remains Unchanged”

Posted December. 01, 2003 22:26,   


The government said on Monday that it would not link the killing of two South Korean workers on the outskirts of Tikrit to its plan to send more troops to Iraq.

Earlier in the day, the government decided not to change its plan and to take strong measures against terrorist attacks on civilians in Iraq after an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) and a series of meetings that President Roh Moo-hyun held with the standing committee of the NSC and Prime Minister Goh Kun. In particular, some politicians raised their voices on the day, arguing the government should send a military combat unit capable of independent operations, like special operations troops.

“The terrorist attack against Koreans in Iraq will not affect the issue of sending troops," Yoon Young-kwan said in a news conference after the NSC emergency session. "The government’s fundamental position for the troop dispatch, however, will remain unchanged, although we will take the incident into consideration,” Yoon added.

Earlier in the day, the President Roh condemned the terrorist attack in a meeting with his close aides, saying, “The attack which was carried out against civilians, and not on government authorities or the military, was unacceptable and inhumane behavior," and instructed the Korean embassy in Iraq to “do its best to protect South Korean nationals in Iraq while stepping up measures to prevent any such incidents from occurring again.”

In this regard, the Foreign Ministry recommended Koreans not to go to Iraq until further notice but if a business trip to Iraq is inevitable, to report their arrival to the Korean embassy and headquarters of the Korean Foreign Ministry in Iraq.

In addition, the South Korean “Seohui’’ and ¡°Jema’’ military units stationed in a U.S. air-base in Nasiriyah reinforced patrol units and guard.

In the meantime, President George W. Bush sent a letter of condolence to President Roh to express his sorrow for the death of two Korean workers, saying “They sacrificed themselves and passed away while contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq.”

The two killed on November 30 on a highway south of Tikrit by a terrorist attack were identified as employees of Omu Electric Co--Kim Man-soo, 45, and Kwak Kyung-hae, 60, officials confirmed.

The other two, Lee Sang-won, 41, and Lim Jae-sok, 32, who were shot and reportedly seriously wounded, are actually not in critical condition and are being treated at a mobile army surgery hospital, the ministry said. One Iraqi assistant who was accompanying the employees of the Omu Electric Co. was also reportedly killed in the attack.

“The bodies of the two deceased are lying at a military hospital of the 4th U.S. Infantry Division located 20 km south of Tikrit, and the two wounded are not in critical condition although one was shot three times in the leg and the other had a strike to the head,” an official of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.