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Korean Troops’ Post in Iraq Will Be Changed

Posted March. 19, 2004 22:51,   


The Korean armed forces’ prearranged area of deployment will be changed from the existing area of Kirkuk in northern Iraqi to another area. According to this decision, the itinerary of the troop dispatch, including that of the advanced contingent and the main body, will be postponed more than one month.

“As the security conditions in Kirkuk has been aggravated so much in recent times, Korea and the United States have consented that it is indispensable to change the Korean armed forces’ area of posting,” remarked Nam Dae-yeon, the spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) on March 19. “We are considering our new responsible area in Iraq.”

Southern Najaf, the Spaniard armed forces’ post, which is scheduled to withdraw this June, is near Nashiriya where Korean Seohui and Jema troops will be stationed. Tal Afra, and Qua Yara, which were included in the candidate areas for the post in last year’s bid, are being considered.

“The two countries will discuss the candidate areas and negotiate to finalize them in the near future,” remarked Nam, adding, “At least it takes about two weeks.”

It has been known that the U.S. forces’ delegation has suggested to the Korean delegation, including Kim Jang-su, the chief of the operations department of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has visited the Combined Joint Task Force Seven in Iraq earlier this week that Korean armed forces should take charge of the aggressive operations in Kirkuk area against terrorists.

But the Korean delegation rejected their request on the grounds that it violated the fundamental spirit of the Korean troop dispatch, which aims at peaceful rehabilitation operations, and has decided to move their responsible area to the more suitable areas in order to conduct the relevant operations efficiently, explained the MND.

The MND disclosed that, “We don’t need to submit the agreement bill to the congress because our principle, of “maintaining an independent command system at a specific area to carry out the relevant operation,” will be maintained, which is not connected to the alteration of the area of posting.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com