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Korea and U.S. Get Down to Negotiation over Reduction of USFK

Korea and U.S. Get Down to Negotiation over Reduction of USFK

Posted May. 31, 2004 22:15,   


Korea and U.S. will get down to negotiation over the reduction of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) this month.

Defense Minister Cho Young-gil will have a talk with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at “Shangri-La Dialogue” which will be held in Singapore from June 3 to 6. The two will clarify the position of each country on the reduction of USFK and discuss the countermeasure against the expected security vacuum in the Korean peninsula that the USFK reduction will cause.

It was reported that Rumsfeld will reveal the “U.S. strategy for Asia-Pacific security” at the keynote speech of the main conference on June 5.

Following this, both sides are planning to have a discussion on USFK reduction in earnest at the Ninth Future of the ROK-U.S. Alliance Policy Initiative (FOTA) conference, which will be held in Seoul on June 7 and 8.

Taking that the USFK reduction plan is not concrete yet, the Korean government is trying to make a written agreement on the U.S. base relocation, which contains a provision for consent to future changes following the USFK reduction.

In addition, Korea and U.S. will compose a “three-member committee” which will be comprised of three people concerned with diplomacy and national security from each side to cope with the long-term rearrangement plan of USFK and changes in ROK-U.S. alliance following the Global Defense Posture Review (GPR).

Kim Sook, head of the Foreign Ministry’s North American Bureau, and Richard Lawless, deputy assistant secretary of Department of Defense, will take the chief delegate role for each country. The schedule and place for the meeting have not been decided.

Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Kwon Chin-ho will visit the U.S. on June 1 and discuss the transfer of USFK soldiers to Iraq with U.S. government officials and Congress, including National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com