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Possible to Adjust Reduction Period of U.S. Forces in Korea

Possible to Adjust Reduction Period of U.S. Forces in Korea

Posted June. 10, 2004 21:22,   


Han Seung-joo, the Korean Ambassador to the United States, announced on June 9 that although it is difficult to adjust the scale of reduction of U.S. Forces in Korea through the Korea-U.S. negotiation, the period of reduction can be adjusted.

After giving this statement, Ambassador Han was quoted as saying, “What the U.S. suggested is a plan or a scheme to reduce the U.S. Forces in Korea and not a definite decision” during a social gathering with Washington special reporters. He further answered the question, “Do you think that the reduction of U.S. Forces in Korea is related to a lack of trust towards the Korean government?” by stating, “(The plan to reduce U.S. Forces in Korea) is not based on complaints or a confrontation” and added, “It is not saying that the U.S. will withdraw, when they were not planning to anyhow, just because of our self-reliance on national defense.” Ambassador Han stated, “Currently, the situation is that the military force, subject to reduction, has not yet been actualized,” and added, “We need to negotiate whether the 2nd division 1st brigade is included in the reduction, and if so, what the replacement measures will be.” Furthermore, he also added, “The U.S. planned to invest $11 billion in the U.S. Forces in Korea; however, with the advancement of the reduction period we need to negotiate whether this investment period will also change. The important issues for negotiation include adjusting the period of reduction as well as the speed and scale of the replacement measures.” He emphasized, “The Korea-U.S. alliance should not be evaluated only on the basis of North Korea’s threat, and should take into consideration each party’s interests from diverse aspects including society, culture, education, and human resources that can be gained from this alliance.”

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com